Flour & Flower owner raises women, bakes pies and cookies with care

ST. JOSEPH: Forget recess. Erin Rae’s favorite part of school was food.

“It was the tea time that really got to me,” she said.

Now her two-year-old company, Flour & Flower, provides a snack break (or a dessert break, or really, just a break) for others. Rae said she felt like she was born to do just that.

“I just knew that food had to be my world somehow,” she said.

Erin Rae, 29, is the baker and co-owner of Flour & Flower in St. Joseph. She also co-owns the New Orleans heritage restaurant Krewe with chef Mateo Mackbee, and is one of this year’s St. Cloud Times/LocalIQ 5 Under 40 winners.

Continued:SCTimes/LocalIQ presents the class of 2021 of the 5 winners under 40

Community orientation

Erin Rae is pictured in the production area of ​​Flour & Flower on Wednesday March 16, 2022 in St. Joseph.

Nominator Katie Ruprecht-Wittrock said she was impressed with Rae and Mackbee immediate commitment to sponsor the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University Fine Arts Series, even before their businesses open in downtown St. Joseph.

Ruprecht-Wittrock said in her nomination that Rae “constantly thought about abundance”. As a business owner, it can be easy to operate in a self-protective manner, focusing only on getting business for yourself, she said. She sees Rae looking past that and asking what is possible for the community.

“What I see her doing is welcoming people,” Ruprecht-Wittrock said. “She is looking forward to this collaboration.”

Erin Rae stands outside Flour & Flower on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in St. Joseph.

It doesn’t make sense for Rae to just focus on herself, she said. She and Mackbee have reached their milestones so far thanks to the support of the community. So they have to give back.

“We fell in love with so many people and aspects that there’s no way we could ever leave,” Rae said.

Ruprecht-Wittrock also sees Rae using her business to support and uplift others, especially other women.

Men are heavily represented in the restaurant industry, and they’re not always respectful of women, Rae said. She wants her leadership to break the chain of sexual harassment and stereotypes about what women are capable of in the kitchen.

She had her own strong boss to look up to when she worked in a bakery in the Twin Cities. She showed Rae what it takes to be a female leader in the industry, but also how to do it with grace and laughter.

Continued:Long-time Blattner Energy employee recognized for his work in the construction company’s solar energy

Erin Rae talks about her work at Flour & Flower on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in St. Joseph.

“It was just something that meant a lot to me, creating a space where women can come and learn from each other without competition, without insecurity, and without being judged by your experience or lack thereof,” Rae said. “…I’ve experienced it firsthand, and I’m sure most women in any industry have. So the ability to be a little shard to slow it down or stopping him is why we are here in particular.”

“It’s that authenticity and just having confidence in your own talents to share that I think made her someone who stuck with me at St. Joe and really went the extra mile” , said Ruprecht-Wittrock.

Continued:A no-give-up attitude pushes the basement shop into business and onto the 5 Under 40 list of winners

Finding Your Way Back to Rural Minnesota

When Rae was growing up, her mother did most of the shopping. There were no candies in the house, Rae said.

But holiday treats were still handmade. Rae’s two grandmothers baked; her maternal grandmother leaned toward bread puddings and pies, and her paternal grandmother made cookies and confectionery.

Erin Rae moves items at Flour & Flower on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 in St. Joseph.

Rae, who grew up in Orono, earned her associate degree at the Culinary Institute of America New York and moved back to Minnesota in 2014. She got a job as a waiter at an Edina restaurant, where her partner Mackbee worked as a chef.

But after some time in the industry, including about three years at Sun Street Breads in south Minneapolis while also working as a pastry chef for Mackbee, the two witnessed parts of their profession they were unhappy with. , such as food waste and how African Americans have been treated in the industry.

“We found ourselves figuring out why we were in the industry in the first place, and what we wanted to do that spoke to our passion and our hearts,” Rae said.

They also wanted access to land to start an incubator farm. A tour of central Minnesota took them to Goat Ridge Brewing and their restaurant, Model Citizen, in New London. From there, Rae and Mackbee came to St. Joseph to launch Krewe and Flour & Flower, both of which opened in 2020.

Continued:Flour & Flower, Krewe open amid pandemic, offering fresh baked goods and a taste of New Orleans

Erin Rae is pictured at Flour & Flower on Wednesday March 16, 2022 in St. Joseph.

Continued:5 Under 40 winner quietly puts community first by working with Big Brothers Big Sisters

“It was really about creating a space that aligned with our values ​​and our love of the industry,” Rae said.

The couple have also started a garden and farm in Paynesville, where they are experimenting with a greenhouse (a kind of greenhouse covered in plastic) and hope to supply, at a minimum, enough produce for their own operations.

Piece of Pie and Peace of Mind

Every day at work, Rae uses her love language, which she’s convinced is pies. Since opening Flour & Flower, she has cooked around 6,000.

“She’s really grateful to be doing something she loves — to share her talents with the community,” Ruprecht-Wittrock said.

There’s a lot of pressure to be the best at what society thinks you should be, Rae said. She tries to model balance and positive behaviors and attitudes regarding her own well-being.

Erin Rae is pictured at Flour & Flower on Wednesday March 16, 2022 in St. Joseph.

Continued:A Minnesota businessman went from selling frogs to Fords, offering a second chance along the way

It’s easy to see where Rae’s efforts are focused as you walk through the door. An exposed hand towel reads ‘Less stress, more streusel’.

A sign near the door bears witness to the power of women supporting each other. Stickers on her commercial refrigerator show support for other local women-owned businesses. Another sticker, in the shape of a crystal ball of a fortune teller, reads: “I see a strong woman”.

Rae wants Flour & Flower to be a space where people can leave their bags at the door for a minute.

“Just a moment of bliss or bliss when you see pies or cookies or (hear) the sound of ground coffee or whatever. The smell of it all. Just to get you out of your head for a while and live in the world of Farine & Fleur.”

Sarah Kocher is the economics reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Contact her at 320-255-8799 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SarahAKocher.

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