2019 Workshops

Each year many workshops are taught by guest collaborators, who bring their own experience and interests to the Schoolhouse and help make it a space of broad, interdisciplinary learning. We’re so honored to host these incredible bakers in 2019. Their workshops are available for purchase in the website store.

Please note: For each workshop we offer 1 reduced price or work-trade scholarship for those that are financially stressed. If this applies to you, please email brennan@walnutschoolhouse.com about your preferred workshop.

Coming from out of town and looking for accommodations in Madison County? Check out https://www.marshallhouseinn.com/ in downtown Marshall, or this beautiful Airbnb home just up the hill from us: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/24249583?guests=1&adults=1

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Ashley Cort

Ashley Cort grew up baking alongside her grandfather, a former baker at the Grove Park Inn and Biltmore Estate. After time spent studying herbalism, beekeeping, and more, Ashley took a job at OWL Bakery, where her talents and thoughtfulness across the board led her to be head baker. Her interest in plants permeates her baking, with foraged goods on display in her croissants and hand-picked herbs decorating her cakes. These days you can find her work at All Day Darling in Asheville, or by ordering cakes from her directly. Ashley will be teaching both Laminated Doughs: Croissants and Puff Pastry and Natural Cake Decorations.

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Maia Surdam

Maia Surdam looks for the places where history and food meet, and tries to spend as much time there as possible. An educator, historian, baker, and gardener, Maia has cultivated a career that allows her to connect these various interests and share them with others. She has spent the past 20 years studying U.S. history, a pursuit that included earning a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, writing a children’s book and teaching in college classrooms across the country. Life takes unpredictable turns, and one such turn led Maia to OWL Bakery where she is currently a part-owner and enthusiastic baker. Maia has been a board member of Slow Food Asheville for the past five years, where she has done fun things like growing Nancy Hall sweet potatoes and putting okra seed flour into bread. Her current research project involves the fascinating historical connection between beer and bread. Maia will be teaching Baking the Past: Using Food, Writing, and Storytelling to Connect with Our History and Ourselves.

(photo by Erin Adams)

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Rich Orris


Rich Orris is a self-taught baker whose obsession with gluten began after an ill-fated move to a small town in New England where there was nothing to do and nowhere to eat. Since moving to his current homestead in Asheville, he has been working on perfecting and teaching the food of his youth, the bagel. Rich approaches baking with a degree in math, but also recognizes the beautiful chaos of wild yeast. Passionate about community and sustainable food systems, Rich is a co-organizer of the Asheville Bread Festival and runs a pizza and bagel pop-up series called Bad Seed, named for the oft-demonized wheat that is so important in our culture. Rich will be teaching 1 Dough, Many Possibilities.


(photo by Tara Jensen)

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Josh Bellamy

After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2006, Josh bounced around NC, working a variety of jobs with at-risk youth. He started baking bread at home to relieve some stress, fell in love with the process, and completed a professional baking certificate program before working at the incredible Elmore Mountain Bread in Vermont. After moving back to NC and working at Weaver Street Bakery, he met Fulton Forde and Sam Kirkpatrick, who together opened Boulted Bread in 2014. Josh continues to oversee the bakery as well as a new project in Raleigh, Benchwarmers Bagels. Josh will be helping teach Applications of Corn in Baking.


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Dave Bauer

After apprenticing at some of the most notable sourdough bakeries across the US and Europe, Dave Bauer created Farm and Sparrow in this very space years ago. The small project quickly garnered a huge following for its wood-fired, fresh milled breads and pastries. These days the operation has shifted its focus solely to milling, and provides the region with some of the best corn, wheat, oats, and more around. Dave will be helping teach Applications of Corn in Baking.