We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Magaña and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rachel, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I’ve always been that person who didn’t finish working until the work was done. I would work a full day in the kitchen alongside my team and then when they headed out, I’d head to my office to finish up my paperwork. It was normal for me to be the first one in and the last one out. When the holidays would come around (our busiest pie season) I would work ridiculous hours to make sure we always stayed on top of the orders flowing in quicker than we could keep up. This past year I became pregnant with my first child and had anxiety over how on Earth I would make it through the holidays 8 months pregnant and constantly on my feet. This was really when I had to make a shift and actually apply this concept of a work-life balance. It was something I would always encourage my team to do but never would put it into action for myself. It took a lot of careful planning, organizing, and trust but, this year our holiday season went smoother than it ever has before! Right after my daughter was born in February, the pandemic broke out and fortunately in our case, my husband was able to be home with us during the stay-at-home order. We were so grateful for this precious time together that we would not have normally had. In June, when restaurants were allowed to reopen, I knew I had to go back to work in the same role, yet a lot has shifted in our life post Covid. My priorities had changed and my heart felt uneasy going back to work as a new mom during a pandemic. Having a trusted caregiver come to our home to watch our baby has helped put my mind at ease so that I can focus on my work. I have been trying to “mother myself” and check in with how I feel so that I make sure to take breaks, stay hydrated and work a normal 8 hour day. It feels a lot better to be nicer to myself and still have enough energy to go home and start my next shift with our little girl.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m currently working as the Head Baker at Ginger and Baker where we are known for our pies. I’ve worked in many different states across the country honing my craft and love of pastry. I’ve had the opportunity to work in different areas of my field from Pastry chef, general manager, chocolatier and helped open various brick and mortars from the ground up from multiple restaurants to an artisan ice cream shop, a small patisserie and even gluten-free bakery. I’ve learned so much from each place and love building a team and culture that helps create happy people. When food is made with love, you can really taste the difference.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was visiting town the majority of their trip we would be around good food and fresh mountain air. We would probably spend one morning at Horsetooth Resevoir, kayaking or paddle boarding. We would go to Union Cafe for brunch and maybe get a boozy milkshake, spend the rest of the afternoon shopping in Oldtown Fort Collins. Perhaps we would go to dinner at Emporium in the Elizabeth hotel. Definitely would swing by Ginger and Baker for dessert! Another day would be spent hanging out at Blackbottle Brewery and maybe lunch at Next Door Eatery. We would take a long walk around City Park and grab some snacks to end the day at the Food Truck Rally.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
If it weren’t for my husband, our daughter, our caregivers, and my two pregnant co-workers (who are also first time mommas and were due within weeks of my own due date) I would not have had the experience I went through on this journey to learn how to balance my work and home life. These co-workers of mine have turned into true friendships where we shared our experience through pregnancy, birth, and motherhood during a pandemic together. Having been back at work for almost 3 months now, my support group has helped me learn when and how to put myself first. I have been able to reprioritize and shift my mindset so that I am able to really show up at work but also take time and give myself grace to remember that I am still a mother as well as a pastry chef. The bakery team has also been so kind and understanding, especially on those mornings where I show up with little to no sleep. They are a huge support in taking over the workload and contributing to our daily bakery success!
Sonja K Photography