Bakers Journal

Bakery Showcase 2023 spotlight

April 5, 2023
By Bakers Journal Staff

Sustainable chocolate, sourdough, spectacular cakes and a renowned pastry chef!

Sylvestre Awono

Bakery Showcase, set for Vancouver May 14-15, will draw bakers and experts in business and baking from across Canada and the U.S., with special emphasis on B.C.’s shining lights. Here are a few highlights of the west-coast Baking Association of Canada event.

Spectacular Mother’s Day Cakes!
The Mother’s Day Celebration Student Cake-Decorating Competition at Bakery Showcase, sponsored by Dawn Foods, will be a sight to see, as baking and pastry students from Vancouver Community College and Vancouver Island University display their creativity at the Bakery Showcase Main Stage throughout the Showcase. Students vie for prizes of $1,000 (1st place), $750 (2nd) and $500 (3rd) toward their education and all participants will receive access to the Journey Baker Exam through the Retail Bakers of America.

Organized in collaboration with Vancouver Island University and Vancouver Community College, the competition will test and showcase the skills of the students from local baking programs, provide them with feedback from judges and allow them to make connections within the industry. Students will craft cakes on a Mother’s Day theme that will be on display throughout Showcase. Bruno Feldeisen of the Great Canadian Baking Show and Dalana Fleming, owner of The Cake & The Giraffe in Vancouver, and Austin D’Souza, regional technical sales manager for Dawn Foods, will judge innovative creations made by students working either individually or as part of a duo. Meet the next generation of Canadian bakers and see what skills they have to offer!

Bruno Feldeisen. PHOTO: CBC

Networking with Bruno!
Renowned pastry chef, cookbook author and judge on CBC’s Great Canadian Baking Show, will sign copies of Baking with Bruno May 14, 1 p.m., at the BAC booth. Among other positions, he worked as a chocolatier at Hotel de Paris in Monaco under Chef Alain Ducasse and as executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York and Vancouver. He later became a pastry chef instructor at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. Bruno was twice named a Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America by Chocolatier Magazine and has been nominated twice for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Bruno released Baking with Bruno in 2020 and is working on his second book, The Bacon, Butter, Bourbon & Chocolate Cookbook to be published in late 2023. As a passionate supporter of the local food movement, Bruno is committed to food sustainability and supports ethical farming and fishing. He supports not-for-profit organizations such as Anxiety Canada, Growing Chefs, B.C. Cancer Society. 



Focus on Sourdough
(Session Room B, May 14, 11 a.m.-12 noon)
Sourdough expert Jan Willem Groen will give a presentation on the special properties and unusual uses of sourdough with reference to Puratos’ world-famous Sourdough Library. This will be followed by a lively interview with Karen Bornarth, executive director of the Bread Bakers Guild of America, who brings a wealth of baking experience to her role as moderator. 


Jan Willem is part of Puratos’ global sourdough team, based in Belgium. As an international supplier of baking ingredients, Puratos supports bakers, patissiers and chocolatiers in creating exceptional food. Jan Willem serves as the global product manager for Puratos’ Sapore sourdough brand and is often found at the Puratos Sourdough Library, where 138 sourdoughs are preserved for future generations. This non-profit initiative allows bakers to store a backup of their own sourdough, protecting their unique cultures. By investing in the heritage of bread, Puratos contributes to the understanding of sourdough. Jan Willem’s passion for sourdough and its diverse cultures and applications is evident in his work. He has conducted analysis on global sourdough flavour profiles and applications, revealing a renewed interest in local bread characteristics, taste profiles and surprising sourdough baked goods. 

Sourdough Magic Demo
(Main Demo Stage, May 14, 12-12:45 p.m.)
After this session head right over to the demo stage to see Tony Amaro and Michael Ranaudo of Puratos’ technical team. Learn from Tony, whose baking experience spans nearly 40 years at IGA, Safeway, Sobeys, and as an artisan bakery owner for 17 years, and Michael, who among other experiences, completed an internship at the Center for Bread Flavour in May 2018. Based in Saint Vith, Belgium, the centre combines Puratos’ expertise in fermentation, flavour and bread pairings to show how flavour can influence the taste and texture of bread.

Sustainable Chocolate Solutions
(Session Room A, May 15, 2-3 p.m.)

Sylvestre Awono

Sylvestre Awono will deliver a presentation on Cacao Trace and lead a tasting of the chocolate so bakers can understand and experience the characteristics described in the presentation. Sylvestre Awono is a Cacao-Trace expert and spokesperson, two roles he combines as global business development manager of Cacao-Trace, the Puratos sustainability program that creates and shares value among chocolate chain stakeholders, and especially cocoa farmers, to improve their living conditions.Sylvestre is the grandson of a cocoa farmer and worked in cocoa plantations in Cameroon as from an early age. He has a master in food technology engineering, a post-graduate degree in entrepreneurship management and a master in management from University of Liège in Belgium, where he launched his career as associate researcher. He has held various R&D and process improvement management positions in the field of essential oils, vanilla flavours and fermentation at academic and corporate levels prior to joining Puratos in 2005. During his 17-plus years with Puratos, he has successively led R&D of fermentation, product management and business development of bakery products. As global business development manager of Cacao-Trace, Sylvestre helps companies be successful in their business by prioritizing sustainable and ethical cocoa sourcing.

Panel: Women in Baking
On Day 1 of Bakery Showcase – Mother’s Day – we will celebrate three successful women who lead in the dynamic baking industry.

“I think it is important to highlight the success of women in baking or in any industry,” says Elaine O’Doherty, senior manager of marketing at Ardent Mills, sponsor of the Women in Baking panel happening at Bakery Showcase in May. O’Doherty will moderate the panel, which includes Tracey Muzzolini, co-owner of Christies Bakery in Saskatoon; Babette Kourelos, cookbook author and founder of Babette’s Bread based in Langley, B.C.; Mary Mackay, vice-president of innovation and production of product development at Terra Foods Inc. in Vancouver.

“Highlighting successful women can change things for the better, fostering opportunities that will promote a diverse workforce and elevate underrepresented voices, no matter what or who that underrepresented voice is,” O’Doherty says. “When this happens, we see amazing results. Diverse backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints lead to new ways of thinking, doing things and innovating.

“We need to continue to cultivate cultures of inclusion and empower people to bring their entire selves to their role. Everyone has a voice, and it should be heard. The more we can have teams and companies with diverse perspectives and experiences, the better we can serve our customers and retain our employees. I am encouraged by the progress that has been made and the positive changes for the better.” 

O’Doherty is excited the Bakery Showcase panel will highlight women in the baking industry and tell their stories: “We all need examples to shine the light on what is possible.” 

Join these remarkable, successful women in baking on Sunday, May 14, 11 a.m. to 12 noon, to learn from their experiences, ask questions and find inspiration to apply to your own business!

Thank you to our sponsoring partners, AB Mauri, Ardent Mills, Bakemark, Caldic, Dawn Foods, EM Bakery Equipment, FCC, Fritsch Multivac, Lallemand and Puratos for supporting this key in-dustry learning and networking event.


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