My name is Sam and I am 1 of 2 bakers at Steamer’s. My situation is a bit unique in that I am totally blind and I am a baker. “WHAT?!” you say. “Is that even possible?” you ask. I am living proof that it is possible! I started working at Steamer’s in April 2014 as an intern baker and after 3 months, I was hired on as a permanent employee. With some adaptive equipment, I am able to bake with minimal assistance and I do my job just as well as a sighted person can. I love my job!
I started taking an interest in baking at an early age and have always had a fascination with the exact science of baking and the delicious creations that come from it. After losing my vision 10 years ago, I wasn’t sure how I could continue baking or even function as a blind person. However, with some training from wonderful instructors and support and encouragement from family and friends, I am able to live a full and normal life. There are so many things that I like about Steamer’s – the friendly and happy environment, helpful and upbeat co-workers, the different and spunky personalities, and that everyone is treated equally, whether someone has a disability or not.
Steamers and Jacks has just brought on a new intern baker. His name is Matt and he is also blind. It is my responsibility to teach Matt everything there is to know about baking so that he too can work with minimal assistance and still make the same quality of baked goods that the customers know and love. Yes, it is literally the blind leading the blind. There will be some challenges but I say: “Bring it on!” When I was sighted, I used to coach basketball and softball so I feel right at home teaching. Since visualization is out, we have to utilize our other senses, smell, taste and touch. For instance I can tell the difference between powdered sugar and flour using only my sense of touch. We use our sense of touch to tell if batter or dough is the right consistency. We use our sense of smell for lots of things like to tell the difference between spices and when something is finished baking. Matt is eager to learn and I am just as eager and honored to teach him.
I see myself as a role model to other blind people who have the mindset that, “Because I am blind I’m not able to work or live a normal life.” There is so much technology and adaptive equipment that allows blind people to work and live a productive and functional life. My ultimate dream is to own my own dessert shop! If I were to give a person with a disability advice, I would say: “Don’t let fear make a decision for you.” I was so fearful before I even started working at Steamers and Jack’s. I almost backed out of working at Steamers and Jack’s and if I had, I would have missed out on such a great opportunity to let my light shine and to be an inspiration to other blind people. I would encourage anyone with a disability to inquire about working at Steamer’s. Since working at Steamers I have made good friends and now have even more confidence to fulfill my ultimate dream.