Re-Entry Program EDWINS Expands To Open A Bakery

An EDWINS gradate making lemon bars a day ahead of the EDWINS Bakery grand opening. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]
An EDWINS graduate making lemon bars a day ahead of the EDWINS Bakery grand opening. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]

In addition to fine dining and butchery, EDWINS students can now sharpen their baking skills.

The EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute in Cleveland's Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood opens the new EDWINS Bakery & Training Center Friday morning.  

Behind the scenes of the fine dining French restaurant, butcher shop and now a bakery is a six-month re-entry program for formerly incarcerated adults that turns them into students and prepares them for life in the food and service industry.

"When you get into the restaurant business, there's certain things you should know if you go to a great culinary school," said Brandon Chrostowski, founder and CEO of EDWINS. "Butchery is one of them. Baking and pastries is the other."

The bakery will specialize in European baked goods -- pastries, breads, plus diner-style food. Chrostowski partnered with Kurt Zoss, a local baker with decades of experience, to work as an instructor.

The new bakery will specialize in European-style baked goods and provide another facet of culinary education. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]

The EDWINS Bakery was a $400,000 project funded mostly by individual donations. 

EDWINS Bakery sits next to EDWINS Butcher Shop on Buckeye Road, about a half mile south of Shaker Square, where EDWINS Restaurant has been located since 2013. All three businesses are part of the EDWINS campus and students rotate between the locations like classrooms. 

"Just like you would talk history and mathematics and move between all of your different areas, that's the same as what's happening here at EDWINS," Chrostowski said.

Adding the bakery doesn't mean EDWINS can take on more students than it already does, but it does provide those already enrolled with what Chrostowski sees as a more well-rounded culinary education.

"The whole idea is to drive this education for our students deeper," Chrostowski said. "This is the sort of skill set we want our graduates to leave EDWINS with."

Chrostowski is not just dedicated to his students, he is also committed to helping rebuild the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood.

"It's a community that deserves it,” he said. “It's a community that's been awaiting certain fresh goods to be back on this block. It's the first time we've had a fresh bakery here in dozens of years."

Andre Baird is an EDWINS success story. He graduated from the program in 2016 and has since opened his own restaurant: Always Cooking, a café in a Buckeye-Shaker office building.

"I never dreamed I'd be in the position that I am today," Baird said.

Andre Baird graduated from EDWINS in 2016. He helped put together furniture for the new EDWINS Bakery. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]

Baird, who grew up in Buckeye-Shaker, volunteered to helped Chrostowski setup EDWINS Bakery the day before the grand opening. 

"I'm as excited as Brandon is to get this thing up and running."

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