Companion Bakeshop

Meet Our Instructors

As a fairly young small business, we know that our community outreach and local support is the number one most important relationship to foster. We are now heading into our fifth year with a “brick & mortar” shop and we couldn’t be happier with our West Side Bakeshop family! It’s all of you who keep us inspired and excited to come in each day and do what we do!  Our workshops are a way to give back to the community AND a way to encourage our awesome and skilled staff to share their passion with you!  About 25% of our class participants last season were through donated gift certificates from local school auctions and local non-profits.  We donate class spots to encourage our community to come together and learn, play and get to know one another through eating and drinking.
Each workshop is hands on and designed to engage and interact with the task at hand, whether learning the process of sourdough for your home kitchen, making flaky croissant dough or gaining an understanding & better technique for making killer coffee at home. We care about what we do and our goal is show this through our workshops!  A community who bakes & drinks (coffee) together stays together!
This season we are trying something new. We have made each workshop part of a series. You can pick and choose to take the whole 2-3 part series or you can enjoy them a-la-carte.  Whichever way you choose, you will still walk away from the class with a ton of information, caffeinated and with a full belly…plus some goodies to take home!  Each workshop runs about 2-3 hours and includes a short lecture/table talk on the subject, demonstration and most of all hand on practicing.
Below you will find a list of our talented instructors. We really are looking forward to what this workshop season has to offer! See you in class!
-Your Companions


Michelle has been a part of the Companion family since Fall of 2012, and managing the Bakeshop’s retail team since January of 2013. Before that, she had already been in the coffee industry for close to four years, and had competed in the 2012 Southwest Regional Barista Competition. Michelle represented Companion in the 2013 Southwest Regional Barista Competition, and has enthusiastically taken on the training and coffee education of Companion’s baristas. Michelle draws inspiration from the ways that coffee connects us as both a local and a global community. Outside of her work at Companion, Michelle is an avid rock climber and outdoor adventure seeker.

Chris Pester (Bio coming soon)

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Sarah has been with Companion since Fall of 2013. Sarah started her culinary foundation at Napa Valley Cooking School, located in St. Helena, California. After her program, Sarah completed an internship at Solbar, the Michelin starred restaurant located at a resort in Calistoga, California. After her internship, Sarah worked her way up the hot line, and finished on the Fish station. In addition, Sarah has held other restaurant and service jobs before decided to move to Santa Cruz. Sarah has been managing the pastry team and teaching classes at Companion Bakeshop since summer 2014.

Chris Baca


Chris Baca is a coffee lifer and is a co-owner of Cat & Cloud Coffee in Santa Cruz Ca. Chris is a three-time United States Barista Championship finalist, a Regional Barista Championship winner, and multiple-time regional finalist. He is also a Regional Brewers Cup champion, Coffee Fest Latte Art Championship winner, and has graced the cover of Barista Magazine. Chris is active in the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s trade guilds and served a two-year term on the Barista Guild of Americas Executive Council, and helped set up the BGA’s inaugural educational barista camp. He likes his coffee with a side of good friends and fun times so come party with him. Chris is currently working with the coffee team at Companion Bakeshop. 

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