Phenomenal Bread!

February 28, 2012

After a few hours of working on bakery stuff indoors during what felt like a hurricane, Matt and I finally decided to borrow umbrellas from the concierge and walk downtown. The wind was so bad (I hear 40+ mph!) that my umbrella flipped inside out! We eventually did something hilarious together: we got manicures! My nails were in horrible shape and Matt decided to go for a hand massage himself.

Rainyday

On our walk home, we stumbled upon an old timey candy store!! The kind of bins and bins of candy selections – a Willy Wonka dream.

Seeing as I am reminiscing all-things-childhood these days, I had to stop in and bought a few nibbles of my favorite childhood candies: sour patch kids, gummi bears, toasted marshmallow Jelly Belly and raspberries! The Reese’s was Matt’s! It has been years since I’ve had a fun mixed bag of candy like this – and it tasted even better than I remember! My palate is so weird these days!

2012-02-27 17.02.46

We dressed up for dinner and went to the hotel bar to enjoy a cocktail before the evening:

Manhattan for Matt, Grey Goose for Karen and a Lemon Drop for me!

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Lemon Drop meaning a lemonade mixture (lemon juice and simple syrup) in a martini glass. Tastes just as good as the alcoholic version!

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Dinner and the awards ceremony tonight was held in the famous Crown Ballroom – check out the crown lights!

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We had a seated dinner of salads

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Rolls

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Table poured wine (I had a few sips, but I had to tell the server to stop filling the glass at my seat or Matt would end up too tipsy!)

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I often request the vegetarian dish at big catered events like this for meat quality purposes and because there are often more veggies involved in the veg dish (often, not always!) Tonight’s was roasted cauliflower over mashed potatoes. Is “Protein-free” a new diet!? I kid. But some beans would have been nice.

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It tasted great, but Matt’s beef was actually really good, so we traded 1/3 for 1/3.

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Dessert was FAB!! A rich chocolate column with raspberry and whipped cream!

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And I’m 3 for 3 on decaf coffee with meals today! Fancy.

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The evening concluded with the exciting awards event. Stores across the country are recognized for sales volume, sales growth and the coveted Phenomenal Bread Awards. And one special store wins the honor of Strong & Exciting Bakery of the year.

First year stores send in a loaf each month that gets blindly taste-tested with all the others among the GH staff (who are about as sophisticated in bread quality tasting as it gets!)

Since we decided to open a bakery 3 years ago and signed our franchise agreement, Matt told a few of the staff that he was shooting high for the Phenomenal Bread Award his first year, which has never been done.

But Matt has a very special talent for baking, and we became the first first-year store to ever win the Young Bakery Phenomenal Bread Award!!

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It was his dream come true ; )

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But like the sign says, the crew deserves most of the credit! A huge congrats to Sponge + Dough guys Nathan and Alex, Baker John and the outstanding Kneading Crew for their great work making these phenomenal loaves!!!

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{ 117 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hannah @ Sparrow + Spark! February 28, 2012 at 1:46 am

It looks like a great night! Congratulations on the award!

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2 Lynn @ the actor's diet February 28, 2012 at 2:00 am

Wow! Matt got his Oscar moment too!!!

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3 Christine @ Oatmeal in my Bowl February 28, 2012 at 2:01 am

Congratulations to Matt, you, and the store staff for quite the award! Makes for an awesome SD trip despite the cool and windy (I swear, last week we had 80 degree weather). Like the polish you got on the manicure, too!

Yay! Kudos. So happy for you guys.

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4 Khushboo Thadani February 28, 2012 at 2:21 am

Given all the bread Matt kneads, I am sure that massage was well deserved! And alcoholic or not, drinking out of a margarita glasses is always more fun! Congrats to you all for the award- it’s nice to see hard work being recognised!

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5 Kathi February 28, 2012 at 2:22 am

Congratulations to all of you on your award! That is so exciting!!

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6 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 28, 2012 at 2:30 am

Congrats on your award!

“Is “Protein-free” a new diet!?” — I was thinking the same thing. you just NEVER know what you’re going to get when you say “vegetarian dinner entree” in certain settings. It usually means fettuccine al fredo or some kind of noodles & cheese sauce, in my experience. Or the always lovely, iceberg lettuce salad :)

The weather today was HORRIBLE. I was running this morning, thinking…poor Kath came all this way, to feel like she’s in…a hurricane! Stay WARM!

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7 erica February 28, 2012 at 2:52 am

congratulations!!!

and i love that matt got a manicure ;p

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8 lena February 28, 2012 at 2:59 am

Congrats on the award!

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9 Crina February 28, 2012 at 3:08 am

Congratulations ! I am so happy for you guys, you really deserve the award ! Best wishes from Romania :D

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10 Robyn @ Blueberries and Oats February 28, 2012 at 3:15 am

Congratulations!!!

At least your vegetarian entree had vegetables! I always get stuck with a ton of pasta and cheese…=/

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11 Sandra February 28, 2012 at 3:43 am

Congrats Kath, Matt, Karen and all your staff – a great year for you guys, enjoy!!!

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12 elocin February 28, 2012 at 5:25 am

Congratulations on that award. That’s really great.

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13 Mom February 28, 2012 at 5:37 am

Congratulations to Matt and to the store folks too. VERY EXCITING!!!!!!!!!

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14 Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) February 28, 2012 at 5:43 am

Wow! That’s an awesome award in the first year of the bakery. Can I ask what type of loaf he made for the contest?

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15 KathEats February 28, 2012 at 10:01 am

The tastings are always done on Honey Whole Wheat. Nearly every bakery makes it and it’s the gold standard

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16 Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count February 28, 2012 at 6:01 am

Wow! What an honor! Congrats on the award!

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17 Elisabeth February 28, 2012 at 6:06 am

Congratulations, Matt, Kath, Karen and all of your employees! ;)

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18 J3nn(Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) February 28, 2012 at 6:12 am

Congrats, Matt!! You did it! Yay :)

That veggie option is pitiful, LOL! Justttt veggies? OMG! Too funny.

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19 Lea February 28, 2012 at 6:59 am

Ooo, congratulations on the award! So exciting–was it a particular loaf that won, or just the bread in general??

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20 KathEats February 28, 2012 at 10:01 am

Honey Whole Wheat is the standard

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21 Lea February 28, 2012 at 10:25 am

THAT is even more exciting! Y’all won up against the same type of bread–that’s so impressive!

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22 Simply Life February 28, 2012 at 7:01 am

congratulations! well-deserved!

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23 Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) February 28, 2012 at 7:02 am

What an honor… congrats! I have tried to get Brandon to get a manicure a few times but he refuses. I keep telling him it will just make your nail shape/cuticles look nicer… nothing girly of course! He still refuses…. :)

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24 Kristen @ Change of Pace February 28, 2012 at 7:15 am

Aww you guys totally deserved that award! I’ve loved watching you guys start your own GHBC.

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25 Donna February 28, 2012 at 7:20 am

Congratulations on the award! You guys are awesome!

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26 Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon February 28, 2012 at 7:25 am

Congrats on the award!!!! I am far away and have never tried your bread but I can only imagine that it is incredible :)

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27 Stephanie @ Legally Blinde February 28, 2012 at 7:33 am

That’s so awesome about the Phenomenal Bread Award – congratulations!! What a great accomplishment. PS You’ve got my sweet tooth going between the sour patch kids and that chocolate column!

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28 Susan H. @ The Food Allergy Chronicles February 28, 2012 at 7:36 am

Awesome…congradulations! What a great year you are having! Goes to show…setting goals and going for them really can come true! Fantastic! You set a great example for all with dreams of their own!

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29 kristen @ verbs and vignettes February 28, 2012 at 7:37 am

congratulations!!

i have that no-protein issue a lot sometimes. when i traveled for work last year, to an incredible hotel in orlando, they had no idea how to feed me (as a vegetarian). it was only-vegetables sometimes, and a little bit of starch other times. i ended up getting really sick from the no-food/no-sleep combo.

this year, it was much better. the wyndham made really delicious foods for me, like vegetable lasagne. …and i slept.

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30 Becca February 28, 2012 at 11:32 am

My biggest pet peeve. A vegetarian does not ONLY eat vegetables. They don’t replace meat with just vegetables.

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31 Erin February 28, 2012 at 7:48 am

Aww, congrats on the bakery! Good thing Matt got his nails done before he received the award ;)

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32 The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh February 28, 2012 at 7:50 am

Yay!! Congrats to you guys for such an awesome award!

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33 Hillary February 28, 2012 at 7:52 am

Congrats to you guys! What a great step in the right direction!

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34 trillingslied February 28, 2012 at 7:55 am

Oh, congratulations!!! That’s so exciting for you & Matt. The bit about the manicures had me giggling too… (first-time commenter; I’ve been reading for quite awhile and really enjoy your blog – the way you create such healthy, delicious-looking meals, even with all the craziness of pregnancy, is totally inspiring)

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35 KathEats February 28, 2012 at 10:01 am

Thanks for your first comment!

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36 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope February 28, 2012 at 7:57 am

Congrats on the award! :) That is such a wonderful accomplishment for the two of you and your bakery! All of that food looks incredible especially the dessert! That is the best part of any meal in my opinion.

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37 Tracy February 28, 2012 at 8:01 am

Congratulations!

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38 pam c February 28, 2012 at 8:01 am

Congrats on the award

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39 Kim February 28, 2012 at 8:02 am

Congrats! GH DOES have some pretty phenomenal bread! : )

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40 Cait's Plate February 28, 2012 at 8:12 am

AH! CONGRATS!!! That’s so exciting!!

I think I just grew more fond of Matt from this post – a man that’s willing to get manicures AND can bake great bread?! You’ve got a keeper there for sure!

And I TOTALLY got sucked into.that same candy store while I was there! Haha – that’s too funny. Great minds think alike I guess! ;)

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41 Roxanne February 28, 2012 at 8:25 am

“MAN”icure shouldn’t this be for MEN only anyways? LOL
I like men who do “feminine” stuff and show it off to the entire world! They’re REAL men who aren’t afraid of what people think.
Manicures/massages are not only for women, Matt makes a good point: Men who work with their hands, like a baker or a cleaner should get pampered once in a while! They deserve it!
Congratulations and I hope that award gets put in a glass case in the baker lobby so everyone can see what dedicated and exceptional bakers you have there!

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42 Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio February 28, 2012 at 8:14 am

Congratulations on the award!! That is fantastic!

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43 Lee February 28, 2012 at 8:17 am

I got a manicure with my husband once and for some reason, they convinced him to get clear polish on his nails.

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44 KathEats February 28, 2012 at 10:02 am

Hahaha!

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45 Caitlin February 28, 2012 at 8:22 am

love old-time candy shops. they always remind me of my great grandpa who used to take my sister and I to an orchard to pick fruit, then to an amish candy store. great memories :)

congrats on the well-deserved award as well.

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46 Maria@ Sinfully Nutritious February 28, 2012 at 8:25 am

The last time I was out to eat, I ordered the vegan version of the salad entree. They slapped a piece of wet tofu on top and charged my $25.00 for the plate! That is why I eat at home for 99.9% of my meals! :)

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47 Patty @ Foodie and the Beatz February 28, 2012 at 8:30 am

I’m such a sap, I got choked up reading about you guys winning the award. Awesome job, congrats!

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48 KathEats February 28, 2012 at 10:02 am
49 Kayla February 28, 2012 at 8:36 am

Congratulations! That is such exciting news and such a honor. You guys deserve it! :)

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50 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 28, 2012 at 8:37 am

Congrats on the award! And I’m surprised about their vegetarian option… Although I did know someone who for her wedding offered entrees of fish, chicken, or steak, and then thought having potatoes would be enough for the vegetarians… Haha good thing I eat meat.

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51 Michaela February 28, 2012 at 8:39 am

congrats, that is fab :)
(and I was wondering about the protein-diet, too… sometimes it really suprises me what I get served as a vegan. Makes me want to go into the kitchen and show them how to do it right ;))

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52 Rachel February 28, 2012 at 8:51 am

Oooh, I’ve been on a huge lemon drop kick lately. I add fresh strawberry puree to them, and it’s like summertime in a martini glass!

Congrats on the award!

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53 Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning February 28, 2012 at 9:03 am

Congrats on the award- Great Harvest looks like a really awesome company to work for! I love companies that give thanks to their hard-working employees and treat them well!

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54 katie @KatieDid February 28, 2012 at 9:03 am

That is SOOO exciting, I’m really happy for you and the crew! And to think you get to eat this award winning bread on the daily!

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55 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City February 28, 2012 at 9:04 am

Congrats!! That’s very exciting!

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56 alex February 28, 2012 at 9:07 am

Aaaaaa so excited!

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57 KathEats February 28, 2012 at 10:02 am

Wheeee!

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58 Mom February 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Go Alex!

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59 Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life February 28, 2012 at 9:14 am

Congrats to you, Matt and your whole store! Wish I lived near your Great Harvest do I could eat phenomenal bread too! :-)

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60 Alaina February 28, 2012 at 9:25 am

Congratulations on the award!! You guys seem to be doing a great job with your store! :-)

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61 Claire @ Live and Love to Eat February 28, 2012 at 9:32 am

Congrats on the award!

I hate when a “vegetarian” dish is carbs and cheese!

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62 Chris February 28, 2012 at 9:34 am

Yippee Matt, Kath and staff of GH! Congrats on your phenomenal bread – my Bob was the guy requesting sourdough all the time. Did you say what kind of loaf won the award, and I hope you will be selling it this week :-) ps I hate to say, but yesterday it almost hit 70 and sunny, go figure!

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63 KathEats February 28, 2012 at 10:03 am

Honey Whole Wheat! And BANANA to Cville!

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64 Chris February 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

Hehe! I know, In my other life I was a Cali girl just like the Beach Boys said! So sorry about the weather out there, but you’ll love seeing all the yellow daffodils when you get home. Robins and blue birds are back too.

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65 Amanda February 28, 2012 at 9:37 am

I echo the congrats on the award! What an accomplishment! And I echo your lament on the weather–we’re expecting a foot of snow today :( PS, what’s the name of the nail color you got? I’m totally loving it!

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66 KathEats February 28, 2012 at 10:03 am

I never look at the names of the colors!

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67 Nicole February 28, 2012 at 9:38 am

Congrats! How exciting! I think we have two GH locations in my city, but the one closest to me is no way near as cool as the one you guys are running. You guys seem to offer way more products.

I’m so jealous of your coffee consumption, even if it’s decaf! I tried switching over to decaf, but I’m finding the smell of coffee to be one of my “aversions,” which is such a bummer. Hopefully that clears up in time for iced coffee season!

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68 Alex February 28, 2012 at 9:41 am

Congratulations on the award! I’m a bread fanatic and have a plethora of bakeries from which to choose here in NYC. However, I am always drooling over your GH loaves/goodies and wish I had a location near me. When yare you going to start selling them (in addition to the granola) on OpenSky :) ?

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69 KathEats February 28, 2012 at 10:03 am

You’re in luck! You must have missed the announcements because we have a sale going right now: https://opensky.com/katheats/product/great-harvest-cville-cluster-3-pack

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70 Allie@LiveLaughEat February 28, 2012 at 9:47 am

Congrats!!!! I remember Matt saying he was aiming for that award. I had no doubt GH Cville would win it.

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71 Ashley @ Cooking for John February 28, 2012 at 9:49 am

Congrats to you all! That award is absolutely adorable! :)

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72 Kinley @ Better Off Barefoot February 28, 2012 at 9:55 am

Wowza! You guys are on a roll! (pun intended!) But that dinner of yours looks rather light – ha!

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73 Jacqueline@digintobooks February 28, 2012 at 9:57 am

Congratulations!!!!! That’s so awesome and it looks like you two had a ton of fun!!

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74 Joanne February 28, 2012 at 10:10 am

Congratulations to Matt and staff. Way to go!
You guys should think about the CA Raisin Bread Contest. The applications are out now.
If you can’t find the form on line, let me know and I’ll send you the application package.

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75 Molly February 28, 2012 at 10:10 am

Congrats on the award!!!

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76 Sara February 28, 2012 at 10:11 am

Congrats!!

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77 Jennifer February 28, 2012 at 10:11 am

Congratulations!!!

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78 Silvia @ skinny jeans food February 28, 2012 at 10:15 am

Congrats on the Phenomenal Bread award! that’s HUGE!

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79 clare @ fittingitallin February 28, 2012 at 10:21 am

Congrats Kath! (And Matt!)
And also, the no protein thing is my biggest vegetarian pet peeve. It’s like restaurants think vegetarians ONLY eat vegetables.

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80 Jasper Naomi @ crunchylittlebites February 28, 2012 at 10:32 am

do you like black licorice at all Kath? I used to be ADDICTED!

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81 KathEats February 28, 2012 at 10:57 am

Yes!

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82 Jasper Naomi @ crunchylittlebites February 28, 2012 at 11:27 am

you have brilliant taste just sayin’ Kath :D

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83 Angel7 February 28, 2012 at 10:33 am

YAY!!! Congratulations, Matt, Kath, & Cville GH Staff :) That is an amazing accomplishment to win something like that your first year–you can tell that Matt is really excited by the smile on his face in the picture of you and him! Whoever kneads the best and most bread wins :) Celebrate your achievement! Cheers!

http://faithfulsolutions.blogspot.com/

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84 Andrea @FrSeed2Stomach February 28, 2012 at 10:34 am

congratulations!

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85 Katharina February 28, 2012 at 10:38 am

Congrats to the Cville staff! Do all Great Harvests follow the same recipes? I’ve never been to one or heard of it before I found your blog, but I know food at other chain restaurants usually tastes the same at all locations. I’m guessing if there is a contest,it must be different at Great Harvest!

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86 Linda February 28, 2012 at 10:40 am

Congratulations on your award winning bread & crew!

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87 sue February 28, 2012 at 10:53 am

Congrats to all of you! How exciting! Wish we had your kind of bakery by us! Must tell you I have done english smocking for many years and love it. I noticed it on you and your sister’s dresses a few postings back. I live in Calif. and it is fairly unknown back here. I’m thinking… your little one will have some darling outfits! Enjoy the rest of your trip and your great reward! You must have a great team.

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88 Trishelle February 28, 2012 at 11:10 am

Kath, my husband is a vegetarian and we consistently scratch our heads at some place’s attempts to create vegetarian dishes. Seriously, where is the protein?!

So happy for you, Matt and your store’s award! This year is looking pretty spectacular for you guys :D

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89 faith February 28, 2012 at 11:12 am

Congrats Matt!!!! Not that I’m surprised :), his high standards are exceptional!

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90 Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy February 28, 2012 at 11:13 am

Congrats on the award!

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91 Becca February 28, 2012 at 11:39 am

“First year stores send in a loaf each month…”
“…shooting high for the Phenomenal Bread Award his first year, which has never been done”.
“…the first first-year store to ever win the Young Bakery Phenomenal Bread Award!!”

Sorry, Kath, but I am really confused what the award is… is the award for first year stores or can any store win it?

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92 KathEats February 28, 2012 at 11:51 am

Sorry it’s complicated!

First year stores and other young stores (I think under 2-3 years) all send it bread. Usually an older store has the highest score, but we got it being 8 months old. (But we also tied with an older store)

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93 Becca February 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Thanks for explaining. I forgot you’re only 8 months old …that’s even more awesome!

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94 ~Christy @ wonderofallthings February 28, 2012 at 11:55 am

Well done, you guys! Glad to hear it :) Congrats!!

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95 Stephanie Hobbs February 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Kath, that is so awesome! Congratulations! What a huge honor!! You’ll definitely have to display that award, maybe even make a neat poster about it!

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96 Jules @ La Petite Maison Verte February 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Wow, congratulations! What an honor! It makes me wish I lived closer to your bakery so I could try your “award-winning” bread :-)

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97 Paige @ Healthy Hits the Spot February 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I feel like I just read about a night at the Oscars, but with bread! Congrats! That’s really exciting! Also, that dessert looks heavenly!

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98 Kate February 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Congratulations guys!! Just the other day I found myself reading and wondering if there would be awards at this meeting because I knew, IF there were awards, YOU guys would win! I’ve never tasted your bread, but I just knew…you guys are the award-winning type:-) Congrats again!

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99 Christena February 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Congrats! I also think it is classy that you acknowledged your employees by name in this post. It sounds like you guys are doing a good job and have a great team! Just wish I could order some Popeye bread and Savannah bars online! :)

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100 Julie February 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Way to go! Keep baking that phenomenal bread!

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101 modernworkinggirl February 28, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Wow ! Congrats!

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102 MaryBe@Accidentally-Vegan February 28, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I’m not surprised at you winning the award! Just LOOKING at your baked goods makes me want to move to Cville,just to eat at the bakery everyday. Congrats to ‘Matt’s’ baby!
Looks like your nail polish matches your Toms :D Love it

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103 Lisa (bakebikeblog) February 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm

how wonderful!!! CONGRATS!

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104 Lauren February 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm

WOWWWWWW!!!!! You guys would be the first ever! I actually gasped lol. CONGRATS!!!! :D

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105 Zoe @ loseweightandgainhealth February 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm

CONGRATULATIONS to Matt and all the bakers. How thrilling. Love your photo of the 3 cocktail glasses :-)

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106 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Congrats to you guys + your staff for the award! What an amazing accomplishment for your first year! :D

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107 Sarah Leigh February 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm

That is so awesome! It’s nice to get recognition for hard work :)

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108 Anna@ActiveFingers February 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Congratulations to you all on the win! :D

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109 Leila @ Spinach and Skittles February 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Congrats on the awesome award!

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110 jaycie February 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Wow, congrats to Matt for his bread award! He is such a hard worker! You are looking so pregnant these days! My hips and thighs got big too at first! how exciting for both of you! congrats! yay!

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111 KathEats February 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Jaycie!! I think that’s on the list of “things not to say to a pregnant woman!!”

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112 Macrae February 29, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Hehe- that made me laugh Kath. You are doing great and nothing so trivial will matter when you’re little one arrives, you are taking care of yourself for them :) They are a gift beyond gifts!

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113 Chetney (Czesia Lives) February 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Congratulations!!!!

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114 Janet February 28, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Congrats to all of you!

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115 Stella February 28, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Congratulations! Way to Reach for the Stars! What award is Matt eyeing for next year? :)

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116 Lexi @ Cura Personalis Foodie February 29, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I love these bread awards! Whole grain lovin’ :)

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117 SkinnyRunner February 29, 2012 at 10:02 pm

thats where my wedding reception was in that room!

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