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Do you know the muffin man?

  • Published
  • By Airman Shen-Chia Chu
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A sweet fragrance fills the air as the muffin man works magic in his bakery from night to morning.

Airmen fast-asleep may not know who he is, but are familiar with the savory cookies and desserts he bakes for the Patterson Dining Facility.

Behind the closed doors of the kitchen is Airman 1st Class Robert Landon, 436th Services Squadron baker - the only baker at the dining facility. His profession is baking muffins, cakes and pies, and cheesecake on occasion.

Normally, a baker needs to be a non-commissioned officer, staff sergeant or above, someone who can be trusted with the integrity to work alone and can handle the job by themselves, said Master Sgt. Michael James, 436th SVS food service section chief.
In the case of Airman Landon, an exception was made.

"I can trust my Airman because he cares about the presentation and the taste of the desserts he makes," said Sergeant James. "My favorite dessert he makes is the double layer chocolate cake."

Airman Landon had a limited two-week training session from the previous baker who left a year ago, the sergeant explained. With the amount of training he has, one would expect him to bake desserts dry and broken down, but he puts a lot of care into what he does and his creamy and moist cakes are proof of his talent.

Though the Airman said he enjoys baking, it was stressful at first.

"I rushed and finished too early at times," he said. "But, as I started to ease into my new job, I learned to use my time wisely."

He said he believes everyone loves dessert and enjoys building the morale of other Airmen through his work.

"My favorite dessert is the chocolate chip cookies because they taste homemade, just like what my mother makes," said Senior Airman Joe Clark, 436th Security Forces Squadron.
With Airman Landon in the kitchen, Airmen can have something to look forward to in addition to the regular menu items everyday.

"Everybody has to eat, but it's nice to have desserts too," said Airman Landon. "I'm just grateful for the opportunity to learn this skill that I'll definitely keep with me for the rest of my life."

Following directions is only one of the skills the Airman learned that is imperative to prevent wasting food and ingredients.

"Even a small error could ruin the process and I'd have to start from scratch," he said. "For example, adding too much water to cake frosting can make it runny and impossible to use."

The balance of presentation and freshness is important as it appeals to hungry eyes.
"Customers look for quality, and they won't come back if it doesn't taste great," said Airman Landon.

From 9 p.m. - 6 a.m., there are no distractions for the Airman at work.

"Working alone allows me time and space to create high-quality desserts," said Airman Landon. "Having my own little corner and supplies makes it easier to get the job done."
It's nice to see the fruits of my labor (baked goods) gone by the end of the day when returning to work, he said.