Help Save SFBI!

I learned much of what I know about baking at the San Francisco Baking Institute, a tremendous resource for both professional and hobby bakers. Founder and president Michel Suas has built something truly special and unique in the artisan baking community, and now the school is in danger of being closed while the state processes SFBI’s application for renewal of its licensure.

– Update 12/28/12: The state of California has agreed to allow SFBI to continue operating while its application is being processed. Thanks to all supporters! –

How can you help? Sign this petition to allow the school to remain open while the red tape is being processed. Send statements of support to . Share with your friends. Please help this remarkable place to continue offering the best artisan baking education in the country!

Here is the full text of a letter I received from the SFBI staff:

Hello friends of SFBI far and wide,

We hope this letter finds you well this holiday season. As some of you may be aware from an email sent yesterday by our boss and founder Michel Suas, SFBI was ordered to cease all operations as of last Friday by California’s Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). Although we have indeed submitted all the proper documentation, forms and associated fees to renew our license to operate, the state has ordered us to shut down while they process our application. We have been informed that this process of review can take 2-3 months or even more. Sadly, we will be unable to survive the financial strain such a period would impose upon our very small organization. 

Clearly this is a grave situation with great urgency, one for which we are reaching out to you for your support. That is why we the staff, the SFBI Family, are reaching out to you in the hope that we may be able to convince the BPPE to allow us to remain open while our application is pending review.

Faced with little recourse, we immediately decided to initiate a petition on, which you can view and sign by clicking here. We invite you all to sign the petition, which we plan to submit on this fast-approaching Monday, December 31st, New Year’s Eve.

We the team here at the school did not learn of this until yesterday, as Michel did not want to dampen our personal holiday celebrations in the past few days with this heartbreaking news. We are now facing the very real and shocking possibility of closing our doors in just a few days, and close to 30 people losing their jobs at the drop of a hat. Some of us have been here several years, some of us are interns who have recently graduated and are starting our baking careers. The common thread we all share is our love of baking and the passion to share that skill and knowledge with people like you from around the country and globe.

We hope to continue serving the artisan baking community for many years yet to come, but right now we are asking for your help. What has SFBI meant to you, or to a loved one who has attended classes here? How will the artisan baking industry and movement suffer if SFBI must shut its doors? We encourage you to send us your statements of support via this email. Please do note that the SFBI website and email may soon have to go offline per the order to cease all operations, so this email address [ ] as well as  are for now the best points of contact. We also offer our heartfelt thanks to the many who have already reached out to us in the last 24 hours since receiving the news.

Thank you once again for your support now and throughout the years. Once again, the petition can be viewed by clicking the above link, or by pasting this URL into your browser:

 Yours very truly,

 Miyuki, Mac, Juliette, Frank, Kate, Laura, Alysia and the rest of The SFBI Team

Post a comment » 12 Comments

  1. I received the information in a message from Michael Suas last night and then the plea to sign the petition this morning. I have already signed the petition and posted this information on my Facebook page and I know alot of my friends have helped out by signing and posting on their pages as well. The closing of the school because of the red tape and delays required by the State of California borders on criminal. If California truly cares about it’s citizens and our economy, they will do something now to expedite the application or at least allow the school to stay open while they review it. Do bureaucrats in CA get it that all their red tape does is chase business out of our State? I have taken two workshops at the school this year and my life will be forever changed by what I learned there, not to mention my friends and family who get to eat all the wonderful croissants, pastries and other baked goods I learned to make in the workshops. This school is fabulous!

  2. Susan, I sent my petition out today and have asked some friends to do so also. They love my bread, so that is the least they can do.

    For people on this list who did not go to SFBI, rest assured that the education one gets there is on a very high level. Excellent instruction, both in the classroom and hands on.

    I had planned to go back next year for an advanced course and hope they remain open.

  3. Susan — I just can’t believe this….thanks for letting us know….I have signed the petition….I hope it works out for Michel and SFBI means so much to those of us who have spent time there…..

  4. Signed, sealed, delivered!

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention….

  5. I signed and tweeted!

  6. This news is very sad,

  7. Signed!!!!

  8. Signed. I hope it doesn’t matter that I’m in Canada. (I made sure to put a note about the usefulness of the website for the international community.)

  9. Update, SFBI is staying open, wonderful news !

  10. Yes, terrific news indeed!

  11. I’m confused. It’s a form ( to fill out and send in a $750 non refundable fee. The new law took effect Jan 1, 2010.Why is that a problem now 3 years later?

  12. For our western civilization bread is the essence of life
    What in the heck the hold up can
    May be bread has too much gluten ha ha… In our gluten free world
    I spend my life learning believing and teaching how to make bread
    I hope that a lot more people will take this cause and send a message to the right person in office and tell them that this is one of the greatest place where you can find the old country tradition.
    It has to continue
    Who do you think brought here the croissant the sourdough bread
    It’s entrepreneur like Michel Suas
    Thank you all for your help
    Chef brigadier Michel Bieri
    Grand moulin de Paris class of 1969

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