Our very first Companion employee highlight is a bittersweet one. Today we say goodbye to our rock star cookie and pastry girl, Katie Hickok, as she prepares to move to Chico in order to continue her education in Nutrition and so begin an exciting new phase of her
Katie has been with Companion for a year and a half, which is almost as long as we’ve had the bakery on Mission Street! Everyone knows when Katie has been in the bake room, because the cookies have that little something special that can only come from her attention.”
According to Katie, every job she has ever worked has involved cookies in some capacity. And it’s no wonder that she’s a natural, she says she first started baking cookies in the second grade- running back and forth from the living room to the kitchen with measuring cups for her mother to double-check. She also recalled baking her favorite blueberry buckle with her Grandma when she was very young.
After attending the Culinary Arts Program at Cabrillo, Katie was drawn to baking and she envisioned opening a bakery with her brother, our very own Chris Hickok- “a place to bring the family,” as she put it. Katie and Chris began working for Companion because it encapsulated the values that they envisioned for their own operation.
Katie has since decided to study nutrition at Chico. Her ultimate goal is to get people excited about preparing their own food. She says that she was inspired by the CNAP Program at Chico, which teaches children to love good food, and to transfer that enthusiasm to their parents. Katie also cited the work of Companion’s own Jeremy Lampel, who works as a nutritionist for people in the WIC program.
We asked Katie about her time at Companion, and she said “it was awesome; I loved every minute of it. We’re like a big family- we have our good times and our bad times, but we still love each other at the end of the day. That’s the beauty of a small business.”
Katie also has some parting words of wisdom for those of us who are less comfortable in the kitchen. She says “don’t be afraid of a new recipe. You’re in charge.” She encourages people to be adventurous and creative in the kitchen- and if you mess it up, just learn from your mistakes.
We sincerely wish for the best for Katie in this next chapter of her life. We all want her to know that she will be sorely missed.
You’re going to do great, Katie!
A special note about Katie from Erin: “One of the most satisfying things about owning a small business is “our” people. At Companion, employees are not just an after thought to our business, they become family. A living part of the business that is so crucial to our success. If it weren’t for our awesome team of individuals working so hard and sharing a passion for food and community, we would not be the sweet establishment that we have become. I did not realize this when I embarked on this bakeshop journey. I thought there would be long hours in the kitchen solo, trying to make my bakeshop dream come true. My thought was that we would “hopefully” be lucky enough to find a few people with some experience to help us! Boy was I wrong. Our team has seen ups and downs, success and excitement and even helped us as we brought our first baby (Annie Rye) into the world. To say it simply, our team has been the the drive and inspiration behind Companion. It is no longer “my” vision, but “our” vision as a team to make quality sourdough & pastries, made with the highest integrity and best ingredients. I feel thankful that our bakeshop family is vibrant. Katie was one of our first employees to help to make this vision a reality! Thank you Katie for being such a solid part of our history as a bakeshop. We have had very little turnover these past 2 years….Im so glad for this because it is hard to say goodbye. Once a Companion, always a Companion!”
With one Companion leaving, we are welcoming several more! In the front of the store, we have a new barista named Andrew. On the bread team, we have Mariah, and now working on our pastries, we have Nicole and Sarah! If you see them at work, introduce yourself!