A new collaborative has recently opened its doors to provide up-and-coming professional bakers in Lebanon with the tools and resources to produce high-quality baked goods using locally-sourced flour.
The new baker's hub, known as the Bakalian BakeLab, launched its first efforts with an open house event at its new headquarters in Karantina, just outside of Beirut. The event consisted of live baking demonstrations and workshops over a period of four days by master French bakers Fabrice Guery and Frédéric Kerbérènes.
This new effort is the first of its kind in Lebanon and offers research and development for professional Lebanese bakers as an alternative due to the lack of a professional baking school. Interested attendees of the workshop included hotel and restaurant owners, as well as managers of bakeries.
"The idea is to provide professionals the tools to improve and offer more consistent and innovative products," said Paola Bakalian, Chief Operations Officer of Baklian Flour Mills. "Our primary goal is to provide our industry partners with a creative and technical support system that will allow them to innovate," she continued.
BakeLab is a spinoff organization of one of the largest and oldest flour mills, Bakalian Flour Mills, which has been around for over 100 years. All of its flour is grown and produced locally, and it is one of the leading flour producers for Lebanese bread in Lebanon.
The BakeLab facility, in addition to hosting master professional bakers, is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art machinery, imported from Bongard and VMI in France.
The facility plans to offer consultations for new and startup business, research and development services, and quality control. Moreover, it will offer training and serve as a space for industry discussions to further innovate Lebanon's baking industry.
"We would like to help create and mentor a whole new generation of passionate Lebanese artisan bakers and pastry chefs and raise the quality of local baked goods by advocating a collaborative ecosystem that positively impacts the local economy," Bakalian Flour Mills Chief Executive Officer Patricia Bakalian said.
This new effort will surely nurture those in Lebanon who have a vested passion for baking, and it is exciting to see what will come out of BakeLab's investment in the Lebanese community.