At the young age of 11, Briar Middle School 6th grader Luke Gowitzka has made a name for himself as a baking prodigy. On Tuesday – Fat Tuesday – he will take it to the next level: He’ll be in the kitchen at Kiedrowski’s Simply Delicious Bakery in Amherst.
Luke will be at the mixing bowl and oven, baking paczki by the dozens for the renowned bakery. He was invited by owner Tim Kiedrowski to help out on Fat Tuesday. Luke met Mr. Kiedrowski at a Special Olympics fundraiser in February, and Mr. Kiedrowski invited him to help at his bakery.
For Luke, it’s a trip to the major league of baking.
“I get to bake with another baker,” Luke says of the opportunity. “I don’t usually get to bake with another baker … I don’t know any bigger bakeries” than Kiedrowski’s.
For many people, Kiedrowski’s is a Fat Tuesday tradition – so much so, Fox8Cleveland typically dispatches feature reporter Kenny Crumpton for updates. A crowd – and Mr. Crumpton – are expected to appear there on Tuesday.
Luke says he’ll be happy just to make paczki and snoogles.
He has been baking for several years now. He got his start baking cookies and cakes as part of a 4-H project, and it’s blossomed. His mother, Perkins High School biology teacher Ashlie Gowitzka, posted photos of his goodies on social media and his work quickly drew attention. He has been hired to bake a half-dozen wedding cakes and desserts.
He pays himself each month from the orders he fills – money that he is setting aside to buy a ukulele (when he’s not baking or in school, Luke also enjoys making music in the school band).
His favorite, go-to treats are his chocolate chip cookies – though he says he does not sell them. Sometimes, he’ll make them for friends.
Luke also has his eyes set on a big operation in years to come.
“I want to buy my own place,” Luke says. “A bakery in Sandusky where I can start out.”
In the meantime, he’ll run his Lake Erie Treats business out of his mother’s kitchen. Mrs. Gowitzka, by the way, handles the business.
“I do all the baking,” Luke says. “... She does the dishes and reaches the high stuff.”
Well, perhaps, he’s also learned another tough lesson in the baking business: “I have to bake my own birthday cakes.” We all know it’s going to be a good one, though.