Explorations: Brunner Presents Holiday Program
Chef Martin Brunner will be the featured presenter for the Explorations: A Forum for Adults series at the Southern Pines Public Library from 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15.
Brunner will present "Recipe for a Tasteful Holiday," offering tips on holiday entertaining along with an opportunity to sample his chocolate truffles. He'll also provide an overview of the culinary arts program at Sandhills Community College.
A fifth-generation baker who was born and raised in Austria, Brunner has fond memories of helping to make bread in his parents' bakery as a young child.
"Carrying the strands of dough for the challah loaves was my first job," he says. "Our bakery was founded by my grandfather in 1948, and I grew up in the business."
Baking is still a family affair for Brunner. In addition to acting as program coordinator for baking and pastry arts at Sandhills Community College, he also owns and operates The Bakehouse Artisan Bakery and Caf in Aberdeen with the help of his wife, mother-in-law and father.
"We still make items dating back to my grandpa's days of baking," Brunner says. "My dad uses our traditional sourdough rye bread recipe daily, and of course, this is the time of year for gingerbread!"
Brunner feels fortunate to be able to pass along his family recipes and know-how to his students at Sandhills.
"After receiving so much from my own instructors, my parents and my former chefs, it is rewarding to be able to give back, and share that knowledge," he says.
And he is clearly proud of the reputation earned by the Culinary Arts Department at Sandhills.
"Ted Oelfke, the chairman of our programs, has worked hard to get us a state-of-the-art facility, which is staffed with incredibly talented professionals," he says.
Between teaching and running a bakery, you might think Brunner has no time for television, but you'd be wrong.
One of his favorite shows is "The Cake Boss," which airs on TLC network.
"My students and I actually saw "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro two weeks ago in Charlotte, where he made a life-sized NASCAR car all out of cake," Brunner says. "His bakery is top-notch, and before his TLC fame, he was a well-respected industry professional featured in many baking magazines. I do some of his fondant tricks, and teach them to my students."
With all that he has already accomplished, one wonders -- could a reality baking show for Brunner be far off?
For more information on "Recipe for a Tasteful Holiday" and other upcoming programs at Southern Pines Public Library, call (910) 692-8235 or visit www.sppl.net.
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