The Washington State University Bread Lab in Burlington had a special visitor in June—Bill Gates.
"I've been to a lot of labs, but until recently I had never seen one that was centered on a full working kitchen," Gates wrote on his blog.
The visit was well planned and kept under wraps for some time, director Stephen Jones said. He also serves as a professor at WSU.
"I was just nervous," Jones said about Gates' visit. "He came in and I said a few things that I can't remember."
The Bread Lab is part of WSU's Bread Lab Plant Breeding Program, which conducts research on various lines of wheat, barley, buckwheat and other small grains.
Jones said the lab is interested in baking things that people actually want to eat using whole grains and keeping value "where it's produced."
The lab is associated with WSU's Mount Vernon Research Center and has been running since 2011, according to its website.
Only a few people knew about Gates' visit, and all of them played a key process in the big day. Jones said he thinks Gates and his team were interested "in a variation of models of what agriculture and food could look like."
Gates shared a video of his visit.
"I could smell the baking bread the minute I walked in the door," Gates wrote. "It was all very impressive."
Gates said the lab works with companies like Clif Bar, La Brea Bakery and Chipotle, while also working to solve the problem of malnutrition in poorer countries.
Jones said the lab aims to improve access to good food for all communities.
"This is not some elitist food," he said. "This is good food for as many people as we can get it to."