DON GUERRA REPRESENTS TCOG AT THE ‘DAYS OF BREAD’ FESTIVAL
by McKenzie Seeley
July 16, 2018
The Days of Bread Festival was held in Krakow, Poland, just before the annual conference of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The festival allowed bakers from many of the Creative Cities to demonstrate their experiential knowledge and tell about the cultural significance of the traditional breads of their cities. Tucson City of Gastronomy partnered with the International Traditional Knowledge Institute-U.S. chapter to expand the festival to allow participation by all of the Creative Cities in printed materials and an online app.
Don Guerra is the owner and Master Baker of Barrio Bread, and represented Tucson as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy at the Days of Bread Festival. His work to build Barrio Bread, promote Tucson’s local food movement, utilize heritage grains, and teach in a variety of contexts has earned him a reputation as an elite baker, educator, and promoter of community collaboration. Don has also worked with bakers from around the world as he explores the complexities of baking world-class bread. He is recognized as one of the top ten artisan bakers in America.
We asked Don to reflect on a few questions about his experience…
1. First off, how would you describe the Day of Bread Festival? How was it linked to UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, and why were you involved in going?
“The project creates an opportunity to connect the peoples and cultures represented by the Creative Cities Network through representative examples of their traditional bread.
This event was designed for bakers from the cities of gastronomy to meet and collaborate during the week, which provided the opportunity to strengthen our network and share our work. I was selected to attend because my own business model fits well with the UNESCO vision of creating a sustainable food hub for the surrounding agriculture. I have traveled internationally to teach and consult and have extensive experience with sharing my model and building connections. The project focuses on the traditional and creative knowledge of the bread makers of the UNESCO Creative Cities. It extends the concept of “bread” to be defined as the basic staple food prepared using water and local ingredients, in whatever traditional way each community typically prepares it.
The project ”Expanding the Days of Bread Experience through the Creative Knowledge Platform” is the first inter-cluster project tied to the UCCN annual conference and open to all of the Creative Cities in the UCCN.”
2. Who were some of the bakers and Creative Cities representatives that you met, and what about them inspired you?
" Pochlebstwo Baker- (Krakow, Poland) Is a bakery owned by Marta. The model was similar to mine, exhibition style and producing a limited amount of breads until they sold out. Like me, they also worked with local farmers to source grain and support a local food network.
Zaczyn Bakery- (Krakow, Poland) Zosia Barto and her partner own this bakery. They mill all of their whole grain flours and produce levain style breads, which were most similar to mine. The focus was on small-scale and growing their new space to create a bread culture focused on vegan breads made with local grains. I was able to share some of my White Sonora flour with them and they were excited to make new pastries.
Monica Waleca- (Warsaw, Poland) Monica is a baker based in Warsaw who has turned her apartment into a bakery. She is following my model of using limited resources to create a sustainable business without the traditional start-up costs. Monica bakes for a loyal customer base, who accesses her bread via farmer’s markets. She is constantly pushing her creativity with new styles and recipes after studying in San Francisco and visiting Barrio Bread last year.
I was very excited to learn that we are all committed to the shared the goals of creating sustainable and local food networks, while minimizing resource use and waste.”
3. Explain some of the breads that you tasted/made, with what ingredients were presented to you, how will they inspire your future baking?
“The regional grains include a variety of rye flours and I enjoyed the diversity of breads in this style. We also shared the technique of naturally leavened breads. I would like to incorporate more rye into my repertoire and research a rye that might grow well in our local climate.
As I travel around the world and explore different styles and ingredients, my commitment to using local ingredients is strengthened. It is incredibly important for us as bakers to champion our local agriculture and food producers and work to create food and economic security.
A special thanks to Don Guerra and all the bakers that represented the cities in the UCCN Days of Bread Celebration of 2018. For images of Don’s experiences in Krakow, please see the gallery below! For more information about the Expanding the Days of Bread Experience through the Creative Knowledge Platform please visit ITKIUS CKP.”