Campus bakery prepares to open its doors


Cake slices sit on display at the Oak Cafe Bakery at American River College. (Photo courtsey of Don Reid)

Ashley Hayes-Stone

Calling all caffeine addicts and foodies, the wait is over, the Oak Cafe Bakery will be opening its doors on Sept. 13.

Located in the Culinary Arts building, this student-run bakery offers a variety of breakfast pastries, freshly made sandwiches, desserts, espresso drinks, tea and more.

All proceeds support American River College’s culinary program.

Professor Judy Parks has been running the Oak Cafe Bakery for almost three years.

Parks likes to keep the menu interesting and innovative by encouraging her students to add their own creations to the menu.

“It is a new class every semester. I tell the students, this is your bakery so if you have some ideas and want to try something we write it in [the menu],” Parks said.

A few years ago, Parks suggested the bakery to a department chair because she felt that the students needed more training in a bakery setting so students can acquire jobs in their field once they leave ARC.

“I felt like that the students needed more hands-on in a bakery environment and this class is the closest we can get to a real bakery situation,” Parks said. “We come in before six in the morning and we bake off the product and have it out by eight.”

According to Parks, customers can expect that everything is freshly baked, from the frosting on the brownie down to the bread on the sandwiches.

“The food is always fresh… we bake our bread in the morning and the catering class makes the sandwiches,” Parks said.

The bakery has quite a selection to choose from but Parks has a few recommendations for first timers.

“You have to try the bran muffins they are really good. They don’t taste like healthy bran muffins, if you know what I mean,” Parks said. “We make really good fudge brownie and we top it either with buttercream or some chocolate glaze… and the quiche is always good.”

Parks says she enjoys influencing her culinary students with hands-on training but also enjoys giving the students on campus another option to get their chow.

“I think [the bakery] impacts the culinary students because they get some decent training, but it also impacts the students on campus because they have another choice on where to go,” Parks said. “I would love to have the campus come over and see what we do it is really good stuff.”

The Oak Cafe Bakery is open weekdays, Wednesday through Friday 8 a.m. through 2:30 pm, but get there early or those treats might be gone.