New this year, we are putting significant emphasis on education in our annual Twentyfive special edition, highlighting those who go above and beyond to educate, inspire and lead in the fields of baking, pastry and chocolate. They are educators and mentors who work tirelessly to help the industry reach new heights and achieve excellence in quality and presentation.

Special thanks go to the knowledgeable instructors and educators from bakery and culinary schools such as Johnson & Wales University, the San Francisco Baking Institute and The French Pastry School, which are dedicated to training the next generation of bakers, pastry chefs and chocolatiers. Also highlighted in the following pages are organizations such as Hot Bread Kitchen, which is devoted to educating women from around the world in culinary arts, so they can leverage their talent and passion to launch careers in food.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but a starting point to shed light on important contributions of those who have not been previously selected in our annual Twentyfive list, but whose work should never go unnoticed. We owe them all a special thanks for their amazing and inspiring dedication. We also know there are many others who are worthy of recognition, and we hope to bring their stories to light in the future.

Pierre Zimmermann, owner of La Fournette Bakery & Cafe in Chicago, speaks to the future of our industry when he says, “It is beneficial to bring a level of complexity to your products — to excite your customers.” But to achieve this mission, the necessary skills are required.

Organizations such as the Bread Bakers Guild of America and the Retail Bakers of America are raising the bar to help the industry achieve greater success, including all-important certification programs that enable bread bakers, cake artists, pastry chefs and others to gain professional skills that can help them further their careers.

In 2016, the American Bakers Association and the American Society of Baking commissioned a report, “The Workforce Gap in U.S. Commercial Baking: Trends, Challenges and Solutions,” conducted by Cypress Associates, to investigate the widening workforce gap. It identified how the workforce is changing as baby boomers retire and younger generations take their place. There is a serious workforce skills gap in the American baking industry, as reported by various industry organizations, and it is imperative that we continue to work together to educate and inspire the future leaders of tomorrow.

Beginning Wednesday, November 14, we will highlight the first educator on our Twentyfive list. Check back in each day for a new educator.