Open since Oct. 27, Culinary Combo Bakery is on the reverse side of the Claymoor Apartments’ entrance.
The recently opened Culinary Combo Bakery in Southfield not only puts the talents of a Metro area mother and daughter on display, the business venture is bringing healing to their family.
Bakery partner Jodie Polk, 56, of Commerce Township formerly operated a catering company, Culinary Combo, with her late husband, Jim Polk. They met at the Oakland Community College Culinary Studies Institute. A professional baker, Jodie was a pastry chef with Muer Corp. before joining forces in 1988 with Chef Jim. She gradually moved their business toward filling gift baskets with baked goods.
Following the example of her mother, the late Rosalind Weisberg, Jodie introduced the Polk children, Jessica and Justin, to cooking and baking as children.
“Some of my best childhood memories are of helping my parents make dough or putting together baskets during the holiday season,” said Jessica Barris, 26, who lives in Berkley with her husband, Neil Barris. Jessica recalled how three generations of her family would “put on our aprons and roll up our sleeves to get thousands of cookies baked and baskets assembled.”
After Jim passed away two years ago from pancreatic cancer, Jodie questioned whether she could continue Culinary Combo. Then cousins in commercial real estate and other friends provided support for her to start the bakery — the Polks’ longtime dream.
“Jessica stepped forward to say, ‘Mom, I want to be your partner,’” said Jodie. “Truthfully, I never realized she had any interest in the business, but I could not pass up the opportunity to work side-by-side with my daughter.”
Open since Oct. 27, Culinary Combo Bakery is on the reverse side of the Claymoor Apartments’ entrance. The location on Franklin Road, near Northwestern Highway, is close to Jodie’s former business clientele.
Starting with its reputation for creating decorative and unique gift baskets, Culinary Combo Bakery offers made-from-scratch baked goods. The Claymoor, an oatmeal cookie with chocolate chips and toffee bits, and fudgy brownies, are delicious specialties. Keto-friendly and nut-free and gluten-free options are available, although everything is made in a facility utilizing dairy, eggs, soy, gluten and nuts. The bakery caters to Jewish tastes with rugaleh but isn’t certified kosher.
In addition to baking, Jessica, a trained product photographer, also manages marketing, social media and photography for the business.
She, Neil and Jodie, are members of West Bloomfield’s Temple Israel. Jodie sends out tributes for the temple’s Sisterhood. Since Jim’s passing, the family has been involved with Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and Jodie attended a spousal bereavement group at Gilda’s Club in Royal Oak.
Working closely with her daughter at the bakery, Jodie said they “truly enjoy collaborating with one another and at this point, as we are finally seeing the dream through, neither of us can imagine doing this with anyone else.”
Bakery hours are 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and until 1 p.m. Saturday. Local delivery is available for $12 with 24 hours’ notice.
Culinary Combo Bakery
29260 Franklin Road