Sunday, September 19, 2010

Baking with Betty - the Campus

As promised I am back with more Baking with Betty info. If you recall, on my last Baking with Betty post I promised to be back with the nitty gritty so keep reading....

We arrived at the General Mills Campus around 8:00am the morning of the 24th of August. Hard to believe that was almost a month ago. When we arrived at the facility, the other bloggers and I signed in and left our luggage up front. We waited for a few anxious moments until we were finally gathered to head on in. Then the fun began!

Before we got to the actual baking, we were able to tour the facility - All I can say is WOW. The building was just beautiful. The campus is primarily a marketing campus with corporate functions. I found a website that actually talks about the re-design of the facility and includes pictures showing how truly fabulous it is. (click HERE)

The company I work for also has a beautiful building - it is a state of art 10+ story building that is decorated in a clean, retro-modern style with fresh colors and trendy furnishings. It has a very European feel and is actually considered a "green"building (even our signage is green!) The General Mills Campus is just as beautiful and modern, but different - where my company is service related, General Mills has consumer products, most of which are household names.

Walking around the General Mills Campus, there are product displays, logos, etc. Some of the General Mills brands include cereals (Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Wheaties, etc.), Pillsbury, Yoplait, Green Giant, Fiber One and, of course, Betty Crocker. Some of my favorite displays were the ones that were in the mail hallway. See the Wheaties, Cherrios and Betty Crocker display photos taken with my iphone:

I loved the collaborative nature of the work environment. While walking around, it was not unusual to observe people working in common areas with their laptops, outside the confinements of a cubicle or office. The environment was energetic and fun - what a great way to boost creativity!

At one point we were upstairs looking down at the Betty Crocker Kitchens. Overlooking the Kitchens was SO exciting. There were 3 HUGE test kitchens equipped with beautiful appliances. Most were actually "double-kitchens" so it was probably more like 6 kitchens. (The funny thing is that when we went downstairs finally, there was an adjoining room with at least 6 or 7 more kitchens. I had been there for a couple of hours before I even noticed that)

After viewing the kitchens from above and afar, we were next brought down and seated in a room next to the test kitchens. While we ate an absolutely delicious breakfast (of course!), learned about the day's agenda, covered relevant materials including a brief history of the company, specifically the Betty Crocker brand.

It was really interesting to hear about the various Betty Crocker icons throughout the years. One thing the historian jokingly but honestly noted was that through the years Betty has gotten younger AND better looking LOL. From the humble beginnings of helping homemakers via radio and in a "Dear Abby" style during the depression era to being a current household name in modern times, Betty Crocker has been in American Households for nearly a century! click HERE for more details.

Soon after we were given aprons and given prep talk on what to expect! Watch out! 30 blogger ladies were ready to storm the Betty Crocker test kitchens.... that is where the real fun begins. My next posts will cover the baking sessions, recipes, new products and a tour of the studios (film and tv). Stay tuned for all the gooey details on the brownie, cookies, cake stations. (And not to be forgotten, breakfast).

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