The Story

My name is Ali Rohrbacher and I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. When I turned 18 I moved to the Pacific Northwest to attend The Evergreen State College, where I studied English Literature and Fine Art with no career-trajectory whatsoever. After graduating in 2012, and then almost immediately getting fired from my 1st real post-college job, I decided to move back to my hometown and figure out what to do with my life. While I was in school I had consistent anxiety about my lack of direction towards a potential career path, because I thought that I should have one, and I worried why I didn’t. After I moved back to Memphis I picked up some part-time work at various office jobs, though none were/are interesting enough to be described here. I had never imagined I could be comfortable or happy without a career path. I assumed I would find fulfillment when I figured out what I was supposed to do for a “living” as if it would just hit me one day.

When I eventually got to a place of relative financial stability (i.e. was paying my bills, was no longer crashing on a friend-of-a-friend’s couch, and could afford to feed myself on a consistent basis) I still had no idea what I wanted to do. I was desperate to lose some senior-thesis-white-wine-and-white-cheddar-popcorn-weight, and to be healthier in general. I started baking everything I could from scratch, cooking a mainly plant based diet, and reading and learning everything I could about baking and different methods of food preservation. My attempt to be healthier turned into a major new hobby, one I was living vicariously through. I found more satisfaction and contentment trying a new canning recipe for pickled “dilly” beans, or trying to make my own bread for the first time, than I had ever derived from my academic pursuits. I find a very real sense of fulfillment in the cycle of meal planning, shopping for the right ingredients, bringing it all home, and making good food happen.

Sometime in June, 2016, an old friend of mine Simon Hua, contacted me via Instagram (on a post I made of the mis en place bowls of spices for soon-to-be homemade Chinese 5 spice) and asked if I had a blog. I told him “No, but…” and we met up for a drink and talked about our coincidentally compatible hobbies. I have been becoming increasingly obsessed with baking sourdough bread over the last year or two, and I had been reading a few top notch blogs about baking. There are many food and baking related blogs that are absolutely stunning, but for ever high quality blog there seem to be a thousand absolutely terrible ones. I had no intention to start my own “blog” as an independent venture, simply because I know nothing about photography, photo editing, or computers for that matter. Simon had studied computer science and 2D design at CBU here in Memphis, so I was curious. We had originally met in AP Art in high school, so I already knew he was mega-talented as an artist before I checked out his photography website. Needless to say, once we met and discussed our intentions we decided to make this blog thing happen.

We did make it happen. It turned out pretty great, I think. I wish we had more time to commit to it, but unfortunately we are both working full time, so our creative venture had taken a bit of a  back seat.

I started working as a volunteer pastry chef at The Caritas Village in the Binghampton neighborhood. Caritas Village is a non-profit that functions as a community center, cafe restaurant, and art gallery. Caritas is also host to resident artists, a weekly free medical clinic, after school programming for kids,  and provides about 20+ free meals a day to people in the community through a pay-it-forward program. In a cooperative agreement with them I was granted access to their commercial kitchen space to bake for my own small local business Hustle & Dough Baking Co., in exchange for my volunteer time. I supplied pies and pastries to a local business, City & State in the  Broad Avenue Arts District.

 I also started a sourdough subscription service baking as a cottage foods business out of my home. Once a week I would make and bake a batch of sourdough, one loaf at a time in my dutch oven, for people to pick up fresh out of the oven wrapped in brown paper.

I’ve since taken on a part time commercial baking job and I am working towards a full time baking position at a new spot opening later this Fall. I have a lot of things that are up in the air for me right now, but I am very excited for this adventure, and to start baking full time!

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If you are interested in contacting me for any reason please send emails to:

hustleanddough@gmail.com