Internship Success Story: Gentry Sprayberry

Wild Leaven Bakery is thrilled to celebrate the successes of our team members. Training our employees so they may acquire competitive baking skills is a joyful journey we have embarked on since the start of our business in 2012.

These past few years, we have happily welcomed employees and interns who need to apply or hone the baking skills they have learned through their school programs. This is our small contribution to ensuring a competitive continuity of excellent bakers in New Mexico and beyond.  

In this intern success story, our former intern Gentry Sprayberry shares her experience at our Santa Fe location. She worked with our team from March 20, 2023, until April 27, 2023. Following her 9-month training program and her internship at Wild Leaven Bakery, Gentry earned her certificate as a baking and pastry specialist in July 2023

According to Gentry, she acquired some experience working with the public and learning how to promote her products.  Her culinary and baking programs participated in local social events held downtown Clovis CA. They provided food samples for people to try in events such as the Peach Party held every June, featuring a local peach farm. They provided peach-inspired desserts to sample. While in school, she did some catering jobs. 

The responses below were collected directly from Gentry so you may hear her story in her own words. If you're interested or you know someone who may be interested in becoming our intern or our employee at our Taos or Santa Fe location, please submit your job application here.


Gentry Sprayberry working at Wild Leaven Bakery               
             Our 2023 intern Gentry is working with dough at our Santa Fe location.
(Photo credit: Wild Leaven Bakery)


Hi Gentry, we're glad you're here! Could you tell us about yourself? 

I grew up in the Central Valley agricultural region of California and I was able to enjoy the benefits of fresh produce and fruit while growing up. I spent the majority of my career as a dental hygienist in San Diego until I injured my wrist. Since I always loved baking I decided to go to baking and pastry school at The Institute of Technology in Clovis CA. I currently live on 3.5 acres in the country and I have 5 dogs and a kitty.  One of my favorite things to do is go for a horse ride. I started riding when I was just 4 years old. 

How did you hear about Wild Leaven Bakery?  

On one of my visits to New Mexico, I discovered Wild Leaven bakery in Taos. I always seemed to visit on a day they were closed. I found their Instagram page and began following them.  I was interested in how they used sourdough in their breads and other baked goods. All the goodies just looked so tasty. 

Why did you choose to intern at Wild Leaven Bakery?
Being in CA, it was a long shot to possibly intern in another state. I asked my director to ask Andre or Jessica if they would be interested in having an intern.  I chose them because I really appreciated the craft that was demonstrated in the bread and pastries that were made. I also liked the sense of community that was fostered by participating in Taos farmers market, sourcing local products, and being involved with the growers of Sonora flour. 
What were your expectations upon starting your internship at Wild Leaven Bakery? Were your expectations met or else?
I liked baking San Francisco-style sourdough bread so I expected to see how sourdough was incorporated into other products. I tried to have a blank canvas to learn as much as possible.  My expectations were exceeded in many ways. I was able to see how a baking schedule worked, observe how the product is scaled and mixed, learn about all the brands of products that were used, and much more. One of the best experiences was having Andre loan me two of his books to read. They were excellent resources for not only technique but also foundational knowledge.  I loved the chemistry of the sourdough panettone book the best. With all of that specific knowledge, experience is still required. Andre showed how to apply it during mixing. The ability to read your dough and adjust if needed is a refined skill that I saw the bakers use day to day. 


Baguettes made Gentry       
 "After returning home, I made baguette points!" Gentry said about her post-baking internship experience. (Photo credit: Gentry Sprayberry / Wild Leaven Bakery)         


What did you enjoy the most about interning at Wild Leaven Bakery?

I came from a non-food industry and enjoyed being able to see the scale of a commercial bakery.  

How has your experience been so far interning at Wild Leaven Bakery?
During my internship, I was able to partake in the daily activities. This began to help shape my thinking about what I would want to do.
What's your favorite part about interning at Wild Leaven Bakery?

My favorite part of my internship was being able to work with Andre and the employees.  It was fun to be able to ask questions and see how all that goodness is made! 

What would be the advice or recommendation you would share with future interns of Wild Leaven Bakery?

My advice to an intern would be to take a lot of notes. Writing things down was helpful not only while I was there, but I have the notes for future reference. 

What's next after your internship at Wild Leaven Bakery?
I will want to have a small bakery that sells at farmers' markets. I’ve been testing different sourdough recipes and learning about different grains to incorporate into the bread loaves.  One of my favorites is a country loaf with roasted garlic and rosemary. 


Gentry working with dough at Wild Leaven Bakery


"I can't thank enough both of you (André and Jessica Kempton) for the experience as it was a once-in-a-lifetime for me! Opening your bakery and sharing what you know is a gift." Gentry on her internship experience at our Santa Fe location. (Photo credit: Wild Leaven Bakery)


What would you do differently now that you've wrapped up your internship at Wild Leaven Bakery?
Looking back I had only school kitchen bread baking experience so I felt a little shy of confidence.  If I could do something differently, I wouldn’t be so tentative about working and scoring the dough. It’s been fun to think about my schooling, internship, and my journey since then. I’m still clearing my Father’s property but am looking for land that I can build on and here in CA you can have a cottage license for farmers markets. I’m hoping to build a small professional kitchen area that I can work out of. The Fresno area has many farms and growers and we hope to form relationships with them in using their products. I can’t thank enough both of you for the experience as it was a once-in-a-lifetime one for me! Opening up your bakery and sharing what you know is a gift.



Use the links below to read additional success stories

Employee Success Story: Hunter Brown

Internship Success Story: Katie Medina