Shannon O’Donnell, the lead baker at Astoria Co+op, said she’s always loved to bake.
“In high school all my friends would come over and I’d make them biscuits and honey for an after-school snack,” O’Donnell said.
Her passion for baking was perhaps inherited from both her grandmothers, one of whom, Veronica, loved to bake.
“My grandma Evelyn didn’t love it, but she loved that I did, and she would help me with projects,” O’Donnell said. One such project was making truffles for friends on Valentine’s Day. “She thought it was great that I wanted to try it.”
After years of self-taught baking experience, O’Donnell attended a year-long French intensive culinary school. There, she learned valuable skills like mise en place, keeping an organized workspace.
She began working at the co-op deli in January 2020. Starting as a prep cook, she transitioned into her role as the lead baker.
Some of her favorite items to bake at the co-op are the fresh fruit pies and the chocolate chip cookies. She’s also looking forward to baking holiday favorites this fall and winter, such as pumpkin and pecan pies for Thanksgiving and an Italian Christmas bread called panettone.
“I’m glad to be here,” O’Donnell said. “I love the bakery.”
In her spare time, she enjoys going for hikes and exploring the area with her dog, Lula. Gnat Creek, Ecola State Park and Saddle Mountain are some of her favorite hiking destinations.
She also recently enjoyed camping in Yachats after a year of not leaving town much during the start of the coronavirus pandemic.