Berkleemusic staff member Rochelle Goldsmith recounts Berklee’s first annual Bake-off on December 13.

The First Annual Berklee Bake-Off was a Personnel Committee event organized by Flannery O’Brien and myself. In September Flannery mentioned wanting to plan a Bake-Off similar to one she’d organized at a previous job. As a foodie and someone who loves planning things, I jumped at the chance to execute this event. In the weeks that followed Baker recruitment ensued, the Steve Heck Room was reserved, postcards were created, prizes were sought, and the buzz began. 

Eighteen Bakers arrived to set up their areas and baked goods at 12pm. At 12:30pm three judges arrived. Roger Brown, Linda Embardo, and Pedro Verdugo made the rounds scoring each item on appearance, taste, and overall experience. The judges’ scores were tallied and although it was close, we were able to determine 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.

At 1pm the doors opened and for a two-hour period attendees and voters had their hands and mouths full. Based on the People’s Choice ballots, there were at least 135 people through the door.

Although the music in the room was slightly less audible than the conversation amongst colleagues, I found it fun to create a Spotify playlist based on relevant ‘Baking’ keywords (think sugar, spice, pie, sweet, cake, cupcake, and the like). I threw in some coffeehouse music for good measure and also was sure to shuffle the playback. If you are a Spotify user and want to access this playlist, here it is.

The judges were happy with the event and their role in it. “It was well run and absolutely delicious”, said Linda. “It was also a treat to see so many folks from all areas of the college participate. We knew we had dedicated staff and faculty but who knew they were such great bakers! Bravo to all those who participated. I look forward to next year and the delicious goodness to come.”

Pedro was impressed by all the entries, “All the participants are to be congratulated for stepping up and throwing down!” He also overheard attendees conversing about how cool it was to meet people from other areas of the college whom they’d previously interacted with on the phone or in email but not in person.

Roger Brown had this to say:

“Wonderful baked goods, wonderful Berklee bakers, enthusiastic tasters and a sense of holiday spirit and community — what more could you ask for?  Well, being a judge made it even better.  It was my JOB to taste every single item and none disappointed.”

Aramark provided ice-cold water to help cleanse palates. Pavement Coffeehouse served fresh coffee, espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos. Local businesses like Back Bay Hardware, Georgetown Cupcake, and the Berklee Bookstore donated prizes for the winners. The event was a perfect combination of people coming together for food, music, and to celebrate the amazing Berklee community.

All in all it was a great success and although I won’t be here next year, I hope to hear good things about the Second Annual Berklee Bake-Off.

For a full list of contributors please visit the Personnel Committee site.

Congratulations to the winners!

1st Place: Jackie Michalowski, Public Safety, Public Safety Chocolate Cake

$20 to Kitchen Wares on Newbury Street with Cookbooks, DVDs, a Food Network Tote bag



2nd Place: Annie Sklar, Berklee Media, Rosemary Pinenut Shortbread Cookies with a Lemon Icing

35 Piece Precision Tool Set donated by Back Bay Hardware on Newbury Street


3rd Place: Bill Anderson, Academic Technology, Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie

Gift Card for one dozen cupcakes donated by Georgetown Cupcake on Newbury Street



People’s Choice Award: Andrea Farner, Double Chocolate Coffee Cookies

A selection of music-themed kitchen utensils donated by the Berklee Bookstore



Check out more photos here: