Apr 16, 2021 | LIFE | By Abby Mercier | Photo by John Le
For those on Instagram, it’s hard to miss Lucas Cowen ’22’s infamous “Rat Lord” social media stories. Cowen’s humor and unique marketing techniques will make you smile and scroll just a little deeper on his page.
“My Instagram has become dedicated to selling my food,” Cowen said.
Cowen first began his baking journey during Half Block of 2020 as a result of trying to adopt hobbies that started with the letter ‘B.’
After bringing his bread starter everywhere with him — including Rastall — he began distributing morsels of his treats to the security guards and Bon Appetit employees at the library. After the staff had been offered bread, Cowen turned the rest of it over to the students.
Then COVID-19 hit.
“The world went into an apocalypse and yet I was lucky enough to work in both a kitchen and a bakery,” Cowen said.
Through these jobs, he refined both his bread-making and culinary skills.
Perhaps more importantly, the jobs brought Cowen a newfound passion for cooking, limiting food waste, and challenging systems of oppression through food.
Speaking to Cowen, I was bombarded by the aroma of simmering duck carcasses, which were to be transformed into a duck stock and sold that weekend.
Cowen’s current project — between running track, taking classes, and working full time as a cook at a fine dining restaurant — is to bake bread and make delicious meals for students to purchase.
The food is sold at no cost (there’s no profit being made) and any money that students decide to tip is fully donated to the Colorado College Mutual Aid Fund.
Cowen’s self-stated goal is “to feed students the best damn meal they could get from a college dorm room.”
When asked how students should support his efforts, Cowen said, “If you have $8 to spend on food, don’t spend it on me. Spend it downtown and invest in our community. There’s a lot of small businesses that need it a lot more.”
You can find more information about Cowen’s business on his Instagram: @loocas_cowen.
Our campus is lucky that there is not only one, but TWO outstanding bakers who are willing to share their talents.
John Capers ’21 also started his baking business, “BakerCapers,” in the midst of COVID-19.
In our interview, Capers explained how his trip to Japan in Jan 2020 was impactful and the experiences he had there caused him to dive deeper into Japanese culture.
The exploration led him to food. Specifically, Capers aims to bring East Asian flavors, spices, and cooking styles to the CC campus.
When asked how he learned to cook, Capers was insistent that everything he knew came from his mom: “My mom taught me all of the basics; now all of my siblings and I have very different passions surrounding food.”
Capers likes to cook with flavors like matcha, black sesame paste (a “nutty, smokey, type of peanut butter”), and other East Asian flavors.
His personal favorite baked good is Japanese Milk Bread, “because of the versatility that comes with the bread. It can be really soft and yummy to eat by itself or can be turned into a sandwich.”
Talking to Capers, one thing was abundantly clear: he has a high standard for quality and takes great pride in his product.
Notably, Capers described that a lot of the behind-the-scenes work with the marketing and photography came from his partner. Together, he said, they keep the business running.
Capers described his typical week: “Experimentation time is Monday through Wednesday; taking orders on the Google form and getting things prepped on Thursday and Friday; waking up at 6:00 a.m. to begin baking on Saturday; hand-delivering all baked goods on Sunday.”
Again, Capers is managing all of this despite being a full-time student already actively involved on CC’s campus.
Much like Cowen, Capers is committed to giving students the opportunity to experience a different flavor profile than they might otherwise with our Westernized diets. So, he occasionally offers cookie boxes that allow you to pay what you can — pretty darn cool.
You can place orders on Instagram @BakerCapers.