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I have been interested in cooking since watching my mother prepare the food we enjoyed growing up. Like many people, I got side-tracked during several years of college and graduate school. After that I found myself living on my own and wanting to eat more than mac and cheese. Perhaps more importantly, I wanted something to do in the evening instead of watching TV! So, I started taking cooking classes in local adult education programs. They were affordable, usually taught by folks who love what they're doing, and a great place to meet others who share a common interest.

The most significant event in terms of kick-starting my bread making skills was taking several courses in North Stonington, CT with Michael Jubinsky. At the time (1980), Michael was a civilian safety engineer working for the US Navy. He subsequently became Senior Spokesman for King Arthur Flour for over 25 years. Michael now runs Stone Turtle Baking & Cooking School and was listed in Top 10 bread bakers in America by Dessert Professional in 2011. We reconnected in 2004 and regularly share recipes and cooking tips with each other. In June of 2018 my wife and I visited Michael and his wife Sandy and shared a pizza night at Stone Turtle.

Since this humble beginning I have taken a wide range of cooking courses in Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, and Mexican cuisines along with an equally wide range of wine appreciation courses at Manchester Community College. Specialized seminars in French puff pastry and others have filled in some gaps.

After relocating to the Hartford area in 1982 I continued taking cooking courses. Shortly thereafter it became obvious that bread classes like I had taken were unavailable here. In an effort to fill this gap, I began my teaching career in South Windsor, initially focusing on breads and later including soup making in my offerings.

A few years later, my wife Joyce and I were attending a concert in Elizabeth Park when the person sitting next to us remarked what nice bread we had. This fellow was Newton Clark, the recently appointed Director of continuing education in West Hartford. This conversation began a teaching relationship with LifeLearn that lasts to the present. I have also enjoyed teaching contracts with Burlington, East Granby, Farmington, Glastonbury, Litchfield, Manchester, Middletown, Simsbury, Wethersfield, Windsor, and Williams-Sonoma as well. Last year I also taught a culinary skills program as an adjunct professor for Tunxis Community College.

Including all the scouts and dads at "Father-Daughter" cooking events, I have enjoyed teaching over 300 courses, 800 classes, and more than 3,000 students with a roster that grows every semester!

Career highlights include making the bread for dinner with Julia Child and her husband, taping a bread tips show for WHC-TV, cooking in LifeLearn's booth at Celebrate West Hartford and having recipes published in Gathering Around the Table, The Hartford Courant, and my own books At the Stove with Don and Bread Class Recipes. Recently, I did an interview on NPR about baking sourdough during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Press coverage includes articles in the Avon News, Foothills Trader, and West Hartford News. I also have an "Author Page" on Amazon.

"Give people bread and they feel like beggars. Teach them to make their own and you give them their dignity." -anonymous



Don on the set at WHC-TV
after taping his first TV show.

Through the graces of a dear family friend April P. I was invited to a pot-luck dinner with Julia and Paul Child following a seminar at Long Wharf Theater in New Haven. Needless to say, it was quite an honor to make the bread for this dinner and share it with the original celebrity chef and her husband! Above is a photo I took that day.