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Madison’s Maurice Cheeks selected as Bread Hero of the Midwest by World Bread Awards

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From our news partner, News 3 Now:

Tiptree World Bread Awards USA announced Madison baker Mo Cheeks of Bread & Justice as the Bread Hero of the Midwest Wednesday.

Like last year, the Tiptree World Bread Awards supported by International Baking Industry Exposition are celebrating “bread heroes” from across the country this year.

The World Bread Awards asked for nominations and then the nominations were evaluated by a judging panel. Five regional awards were selected, along with some special awards — Tiptree Outstanding Achievement Award, IBIE Innovation Award, Dream Team, Home Baker Bread Hero and Sustainability Hero.

“All the nominees in this year’s awards truly deserve recognition for their generous, considerate and often altruistic initiatives to help others,” says Stephen Hallam, chairman of the judges.

Cheeks started baking sourdough bread in early 2020 for his friends and family, but following the murder of George Floyd in summer 2020, he started used baking as his self-care.

“It hit me that baking bread can be my vehicle for not only joy, but also activism,” Cheeks told Madison Magazine earlier this year.

He joined Bakers Against Racism in its national bake sale in September 2020. He baked everyday for 15 days straight and raised $1,000 for ACLU of Wisconsin and Black Voters Matter.

After participating in Bakers Against Racism, Cheeks continued to bake through Bread & Justice. At first it was a newsletter mentioning bake sales and stories of social justice. Then Cheeks decided to develop a full microbakery operating out of his home kitchen while continuing to work his full-time job.

All of the profits are donated to organizations supporting racial justice and building a more equitable society.

In addition to Cheeks, there were four other Bread Heroes in different regions of the country — Manolo Betancur of Manolo’s Bakery in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the overall winner and southeast winner; Shiri Reuveni-Ullrich of Rising Above Bakery in Bergen County, New Jersey, as northeast winner; Guy Frenkel of Cast Your Bread in Los Angeles as west winner; and Don Guerra of Barrio Bread in Tucson, Arizona, as southwest winner.