An Unconventional Baker

March 07, 2017

SSM’s Jim Silkey earns four awards, including best in show, at the 97th annual Upper Midwest Bakery Association Convention.

If you have ever tried a Shattuck-St. Mary’s homemade bagel, a slice of toasted Super Bread, or a pistachio muffin first thing in the morning, you know we have a special baker arriving well before dawn, laboring over the ovens, performing his magic, and blessing us with his handiwork. 

But did you know this hard-working professional is an award-winning baker? Jim Silkey won two certificates (2nd place), a gold medal (1st place), and a plaque (best of show) at the 97th annual convention of the Upper Midwest Bakery Association, held in St. Cloud March 4-5.

Jim doesn’t just bake; he creates. This year, the competition challenge was to use “unconventional ingredients” in the Quick Bread and Build-a-Bread categories. Jim concocted bagel bread with onion, bacon, and horseradish (silver medal). He also created his famous Super Bread with “at least 12 super foods” including kale and even turmeric (silver medal).

And, he rocked the competition with his pistachio corn bread with cranberry and wild rice. This recipe earned him a gold medal and “best of show” award.

Quiet and unassuming, Jim stood at the back of Newhall Auditorium on Monday morning when his accomplishments were revealed during a faculty and staff meeting. He may have blushed ever so slightly when he was met with an uproarious and heart-felt standing ovation. Lots of appreciative eaters shouted their praise for SSM’s award-winner.

Side note: Jim’s brother, Tom (SSM’s Executive Chef), is responsible for creating the yummy peanut butter that goes so well with bagels and Super Bread.