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Community Highlights: Meet Christopher Westfall of Bakes You Knead Bakery

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christopher Westfall. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I’m currently working part-time as a Veterinary Technician for a specialty clinic that performs Ultrasound on a variety of animals. It’s been 10 years now of being a Vet Tech and has been filled with some great opportunities, knowledge, and personal gratification. A lot of my co-workers were guinea pigs (no pun intended) for me when I would bring in different things I made. I was considered an essential worker at the beginning of the pandemic, and as for many, it was a stressful time. I found myself not knowing what to do at home and one day decided to do something nice for those close to me. Then the idea to do porch drops with baked goods sparked my interest. At that time, I had been watching a lot of The Great British Bake Off on Netflix which I’d highly recommend. I got the porch drop idea from social media and figured it would be something nice to do. I enjoy making others happy and the pandemic made that very hard for me. I made a few things like cookies, a 4-tier cheesecake, cakes, cupcakes, and more. I used some to-go containers and dropped them off for others to enjoy and brought baked goods into work for my co-workers. I started baking more regularly after this and got a lot of positive feedback. This is when I thought of turning this little thing into something more. I wasn’t too confident of myself at first, but figured why not? It would be something different and I’d definitely be learning new things, growing my skills and knowledge, etc. I used to love culinary classes back in high school and almost went to a culinary school but decided to venture into Veterinary Medicine. So, when things were going well with baking, I took it as my way to get back into another world I used to love and enjoy. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
This has been quite the experience for me. I wouldn’t say it’s been a smooth road, but all the bumps in the road that I’ve come across have taught me a lot. Once I decided to start Bakes You Knead Bakery, I knew I would have a lot of work ahead of me, tons to learn, and lots of research to do. To my surprise, I’ve had some great people in my life encouraging, helping, and doing what they can to help. I don’t know that I would have made it this far without all the help. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Bakes You Knead Bakery?
As far as baking, I wanted to make Bakes You Knead Bakery special and different from other bakeries. While items I make can definitely be bought somewhere else, I believe the work, time, and love I put into my baking allows me to make each baked good it’s own. Once I get the base of my recipes down, I try to come up with a way to elevate it to the next level. Whether that is using a unique type of salt like I do for my Chocolate Chip Cookies, or incorporating something unexpected. I like to spend the extra time on my recipes and make sure my clients are happy with their orders. 

I bake a variety of scratch-baked goods to allow my clients a good selection to choose from. And if something isn’t listed, I will always work on a new recipe to meet my client’s needs. I’m pretty well known for my Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cheesecakes, Macarons, and my Cheesecake Cakes. 

I am most proud of myself and how hard I’ve worked to make this all happen. I became very lazy and unmotivated during the pandemic. I didn’t feel any type of drive for the longest time. When I started getting into baking, it opened up a new part of myself and I am so happy for that. I can easily spend 18 hours, or even pulling all-nighters to prep, bake, clean, plan, etc., and I don’t regret a moment from it. You might catch me out and about looking like a zombie, but to me, it is all worth it to know I made someone’s day with something I created. It’s my way of making the world a little better, especially during these times. 

Since starting Bakes You Knead Bakery, I’ve had the opportunity to bake for beautiful weddings, birthday celebrations, baby showers, and other small events or personal orders. Most recently I partnered Mid Missouri PrideFest for both their Pageant in June and PrideFest Weekend in August, to provide our delicious baked goods to all that came. Being able to work with that team and have such a wonderful time has been one of the proudest moments so far with Bakes You Knead Bakery. 

Bakes You Knead Bakery newest opportunity includes partnering with Super Smokers, a local BBQ Restaurant in the St. Louis area. We now provide an exclusive Smoked Bourbon Apple Pie and Peach Cobbler for the patrons to enjoy. Moving forward we will plan on providing a monthly special dessert to give those dining something new and different. 

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
I would definitely recommend doing your research, joining groups/blogs, and even TikTok. I found groups/blogs that helped me as far as learning tips from others, how they run their businesses, and so much more. TikTok helped me as far as learning new techniques to try, different ways to prep and bake items, etc. I’m always looking to learn more and becoming better overall with all aspects of running a business. Time management and making sure you allow yourself enough time to get all your different tasks done on top of baking is a huge help. At first, I just did things as I needed, but now I try to do as much ahead of time as possible. This has allowed me to get more sleep rather than pulling all-nighters multiple times a week. And everything stays updated more frequently as far as business documents and such. Most people don’t think of the behind the scene task, but that can take just as much time as baking and preparing an order. I have to keep reminding myself that I will have ups and downs but have to keep pushing forward, and everything will work itself out. 

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Christopher Westfall

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