For over 16 years, Bernie Rieke has come to work each morning at 5:30 a.m. As head baker of Union Market, he prepares the fresh pastries and goods we eat. This August, however, Rieke will say goodbye to those early mornings when he retires.
A California native, Rieke attended Pacific Union College where he worked for five years in the school cafeteria. He graduated in 1975 with a B.S. in social studies. Upon graduating, he went on to continue his work in the food services industry with Adventist Health in California.
Rieke and his wife, Carolyn, later moved to Kansas City, Kan. where Rieke ran the bakery for Shawnee Mission Medical Center.
In the spring of 2001, Rieke and his family moved to Lincoln, where he began his current position as the head baker of our own quaint little campus bakery, “Wheatberries,” in the Union Market.
As the head baker, Rieke is responsible for accepting deliveries, as well as directing and instructing the student bakers and the morning stock crews, all while keeping an orderly, welcoming environment.
He faithfully comes into work each morning to prepare a variety of fresh baked breads and rolls from scratch, as well as numerous cookies, cakes, pies, granola and other baked goods every Sunday-Friday.
Knowing the early mornings and the preparation that goes into this job on a daily basis can provide a different perspective, helping students to take a bit more time to appreciate each buttery croissant, flakey apple turnover or chocolate chip cookie they place on their trays.
Rieke recounted some enjoyable moments from his years at Union. His involvement with the cafeteria remodel from a few years back, as well as meeting and getting the opportunity to work with the children of a number of his former student workers from Kansas as some highlights.
Overall, Rieke emphasized his time with his student workers, saying, “I truly enjoy working with my students—they’re a lot of fun.”
Aldwyn Montaque, senior graphic design major, has worked with Rieke as a student baker for the past two years. He shared a bit about his time saying, “Work[ing] with Bernie has been a great experience. He has been a great boss and a great friend.”
Others would readily agree with Montaque’s opinion, as Bernie’s helpfulness and dedication to his job shines through him as he works in the bakery, laughing and conversing with passing co-workers and his student workers.
When asked about his post-retirement plans, Rieke, who will be remaining in the Lincoln area, mentioned foremost the importance of spending more time with family in California, where his parents still reside.
He’s also looking forward to upcoming camping trips and family vacations, spending more time with his daughters and grandchildren and taking an opportunity to sleep in on occasion.
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Danica Eylenstein in a junior studying communication.