Manager of Analytical Services
Research and Development Department
Bimbo Bakeries USA
Greenwich, CT, USA
Field: Ingredient Functionality
Liz A. Bratisax’s passion for food led her to a 30-year career in the food manufacturing industry, where she has worked with prominent food companies such as the General Foods Corporation, Kraft Foods, CPC, UniLever, George Weston Bakeries and Best Foods. For the majority of her career, she has devoted herself to her work for Bimbo Bakeries USA, a food distributor whose mission is “To nourish, delight, and serve America — every meal, every day.” As the manager of analytical services for its Research and Development Department, Mrs. Bratisax is instrumental to the company’s success in achieving this goal. In her current role, she utilizes her expertise in analytical testing and ingredient functionality when testing new ingredients and finished products, writing ingredient specifications, training personnel on testing procedures, and managing front end nutritional information for regulatory groups.
Mrs. Bratisax earned an associate degree from Farmingdale State College and a Bachelor of Science from the Long Island University’s C.W. Post Campus. She speaks at food safety seminars and chairs the annual company Miller’s meeting to ensure that she remains current in the wheat, corn, oat and rye milling industries. An active member of the Institute of Food Technologists and The Association of Official Analytical Chemists (Now AOAC International), she gleans inspiration from the legacies of her heroes Julia Child and Dave Thomas.
Bimbo Bakeries USA’s history in the United States began in 1994, when Grupo Bimbo began exporting and distributing its leading Mexican products into California and Texas. Since then, a diverse number of bread and tortilla bakeries have been acquired and today, this entire legacy has become Bimbo Bakeries USA. Mrs. Bratisax believes that she has been very successful in what is typically a male-dominated industry, and attributes that success to her dedication and strong sense of determination.
Conversation with Liz A. Bratisax
Worldwide Publishing: On what topics do you consider yourself to be an expert?
Liz A. Bratisax: Ingredients.
What characteristics help to separate you from your competitors?
My personality, openness and honesty.
What motivates you?
My love for food and the food industry.
What lessons have you learned as a professional in your field?
Adversity is not your enemy even though it may seem like it is at the time.
What short-term and long-term career goals are you currently pursuing?
My short-term goal is to take the next step to the management level and my long-term goal is to become one of those big fish in the pond.
How do you plan to achieve these goals?
Through hard work and integrity.
What is the most difficult obstacle or challenge you have faced in pursuit of your goals?
The dissolution of my department in the company and being left the sole survivor. The amount of work and the pressure to maintain the quality that is required is difficult.
What is the most significant issue facing your profession today?
The lack of the next generation stepping up, making a lack of continuation.
Did you ever consider pursuing a different career path or another profession? If yes, how did you end up working in your current field?
At first I wanted to be a chef, but my only option was the Culinary Institute of America, and at the time it was very difficult for a woman to be accepted there. Also, the future as a chef did not look promising.
What advice can you offer fellow members or others aspiring to work in your industry?
Have a lot of heart and perseverance, and don’t take anything personally when you get stepped all over — it will only help you to grow. Go to school and learn the different avenues in the food industry. If you have this passion, don’t forget where you started.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of your profession?
I find it rewarding that I can help people with questions and give them a clear path and resolve the issues from the littlest guy to the plant manager. I also find joy in knowing the happiness my mother gets from showing my latest accolades to everyone she knows.
What is your favorite or least favorite work-related task to do and why?
My favorite part is helping people and my least favorite aspect is the politics and roadblocks.
Who have been your mentors or people who have greatly influenced you?
My father, who put me on the path and gave me the sheer passion to succeed. And knowing the joy my mother gets from showing off my latest accolades.
What changes have you observed in your industry/field since you started?
Big companies are gobbling up the little guys.
How do you see these changes affecting the future of your industry?
This will make the options limited — there are only one or two companies to go to in any area of the food industry. This makes for very little opportunity and movement.