By Brandi Wylie ’24, student intern
Ben Sale ’25 says baking is a science. This summer, the kitchen was his lab.
Sale is a computer science major and mathematics minor with a concentration in data science from Fort Mill, South Carolina.
Growing up, Sale always had a sweet tooth and would experiment with different recipes. After becoming vegan and adopting a gluten-free diet within the past year, this sweet tooth was a bit more difficult to cure, so he got creative with the recipes he used.
With this experimentation, he wanted to share his findings with others through what he now calls Bear Baking.
Bear Baking is Sale’s company. He founded the company on the three pillars of affordability, transparency in ingredients and accessibility.
The business is not currently marketing its products to consumers, as Sale is in the process of developing recipes and getting his footing in the world of entrepreneurship.
As a part of this, Sale competed in the Terrier StartUP Challenge in the fall of 2021. He won second place, which included a $2,500 prize to help him pay for ingredients, equipment and an apartment with an actual kitchen to test recipes.
During his time without a kitchen, Wofford supported his on-campus job with AVI Foodsystems, Wofford’s culinary partner, to turn into a mentorship for his business.
He explained that one day, during his shift at the Galleria, an on-campus dining hall, the chefs offered support with equipment and advice.
Sale did not hesitate to accept this offer and showed up one afternoon with ingredients. He was ready to bake and to learn from professionals.
“This was so cool and perfect for me, so I went to the kitchen with a bunch of ingredients one day, and they helped me for three hours straight,” Sale says. “We just baked batches upon batches of cookies together, talking about their different experiences.”
Using the AVI facilities to learn about baking and the Terrier StartUP Challenge to fund the initiative, his entire summer has been spent in the kitchen trying others’ recipes and curating his own.
“I spend about two hours a night in the kitchen and am doing hours of research every week,” Sale says. “You have to try out a recipe after you research it.”
He is excited to see where this business takes him and, in the meantime, will continue to experiment.