Welcome back to our interview series, Employee-Owner Spotlight. If you've ever had a baking emergency, you may already know our Recipe and Product Information Specialist, Bobbi Welch! Bobbi works with customers who have questions about our products and trouble shoots potential recipe issues, making her a lifeline for thousands of people worldwide, from first-time home cooks to professional chefs! Read about her experiences below:
Bob's Red Mill: How long have you worked at Bob’s Red Mill?
Bobbi Welch: I’ve worked for Bob’s Red Mill for 6 years (my 6 year anniversary was May 13th).
BRM: Where did you work before?
BW: Before working here I worked at several bakeries and restaurants around Portland, and my last job was at Food Front Cooperative Grocery.
BRM: Can you describe your job, and how it’s evolved over the years?
BW: I started here in Customer Service, helping customers with day-to-day things like placing orders or general questions, but because of my background in baking (I went to culinary school in Scottsdale, Arizona and have been working in bakeries and restaurants for about 15 years) I moved into the Product and Recipe Specialist position in 2016, and I’ve been helping customers with all of their baking and recipe questions ever since.
BRM: What is the most interesting, confounding or funniest question you’ve ever been asked?
BW: About a year ago I had a personal chef call us in a panic because she had a big dinner party later in the evening and the gluten free flatbreads she was making kept turning purple. She was really upset and she called us because she was using our oat flour and a few of our other gluten free flours and she thought there was something wrong with them. After talking with her for about a half hour, she finally told me that psyllium fiber was one of the ingredients which she had not mentioned before—turns out, if psyllium fiber contains a lot of seeds before its ground, it can turn baked goods purple due to some reaction that occurs during baking. We had just started carrying psyllium fiber powder here at Bob’s so I had done some research about it and came across this little bit of info. She left the psyllium out of her next batch and no more purple flatbreads! A lot of what I do is playing food detective, haha!
BRM: What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about our products?
BW: The amount of different products we carry! I always knew Bob’s Red Mill made great flour, since a lot of the bakeries I’ve worked for used various types, but before working here I didn’t realize just how much of a variety Bob’s Red Mill offers. It’s pretty impressive to see the commitment to offering consistently amazing food.
BRM: What sorts of things do you like to cook?
BW: I really love breakfast, so any sort of breakfast-related baked goods are going to be in rotation at my house; biscuits, scones, waffles, and muffins are probably my top five favorites, but I’ve recently gotten really into sourdough (like everyone else lately) so that’s been a lot of fun too.
BRM: What is the most challenging thing about your job?
BW: Helping people with baking disasters can be pretty challenging. It’s upsetting to put time, effort, and money into a special cake or loaf of bread and have it not turn out the way you pictured it in your mind so people can get emotional—I totally get it! Baking can be really challenging, but I try to encourage people and help them troubleshoot so they have better results next time.
BRM: What are your favorite BRM products, and why?
BW: I love the amazing variety of flours that we have but I think my favorite BRM product is our Nutritional Yeast. It’s addictive and I put it on everything!
BRM: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
BW: I love being outside so walking, running, hiking, and hanging out in my backyard are all favorite activities. I recently impulse bought a pair of roller blades, so that’s my newest pursuit!
Our thanks to Bobbi for the insightful and entertaining interview! Interested in joining our team? Check out our Careers page!