Bakers Journal

cooking up change

October 28, 2008
By Jane Ayer

Change can, initially at least, be a little bit scary. I suspect most of us remember great moments of upheaval in our lives with a mix of emotions: exhilaration, fear, uncertainty, excitement.

“When you are through changing, you are through” — Bruce Barton
“Change always comes bearing gifts” — Price Pritchett

Change can also, initially at least, be a little bit scary. I suspect most of us remember great moments of upheaval in our lives with a mix of emotions: exhilaration, fear, uncertainty, excitement. Perhaps that first step towards change for you was actually getting into the industry itself: maybe it was an entirely new career path. Pastry chef, bakery owner and TV personality Anna Olson was headed towards a career in banking when she listened to her heart and left the bank vault to go study the art and craft of pastry-making in the U.S. Imagine where she’d be now if she hadn’t taken a risk, left behind the security of the banking world and stepped out into the unknown.

Then there’s Marty Curtis of Marty’s World Famous Café in Ontario’s cottage country. Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, he was on the lookout for a storefront where he could set up an orthopedic shoe business, just like the one he’d worked in with his grandfather, when he stumbled on a building for sale in Bracebridge (about two hours north of Toronto). To help pay the bills, he considered renting out a portion of the store to another business. Speaking to a friend in the ice cream world, realizing what kind of money could be made there and seeing a fit with the cottage community of Bracebridge, Curtis switched business plans and opened up an ice cream shop, eventually expanding that business into a café for the winter months. Well, that café has been raved about the world over for its sweet Canadian classic, the buttertart, and Marty Curtis has just published his first cookbook, Marty’s World Famous Café (published by Whitecap, 2008), giving away the secret recipe for the tart, along with other treats, both sweet and savoury.

Perhaps the change for you was taking your business in a whole new direction. Bakery owner, Bakers Journal columnist and member of Team Canada Tracey Muzzolini grew up in Christie’s Mayfair Bakery, her parents’ bakery in Saskatoon, Sask. She couldn’t wait to take flight: to leave the Prairie city for bigger, brighter things. After a number of years of experiencing those bigger and brighter things in the restaurant industry in Toronto, a fellow chef helped inspire an interest in artisan breads. Eventually, she returned home, setting up a small oven in the front of her parents’ bakery to spark curiosity about the work she was doing. That was 10 years ago, and not only has the bakery been reinvigorated with a new clientele who are willing to pay more for the artisan products Muzzolini makes, she’s travelled the world, competing, demonstrating and teaching the craft she’s worked so hard at. She took a risk and it paid off.

Well, the times are a-changin’ here at Bakers Journal too. The first change? Me. I’ll be stepping away from the editor’s desk again this fall as I prepare for the arrival of a second child.

The other change should have been fairly obvious to you when you opened your mailbox and picked up this issue. For months now, we’ve been working on a fairly big change: a Bakers Journal redesign. The culmination of months of meetings and musings and discussions about what the magazine means to the industry and what its purpose is, you hold in your hands a cleaner, crisper, more modern version of the magazine. Why the change? Because it was time, because the magazine has looked the same way for a while and we thought it was perhaps just a little tired. And because we believe in that first quote published up there and we never want to be through. It’s our gift to you. Hopefully it’ll help reinspire you; perhaps it’ll encourage you to make change in your business. Let us know what you think. / BJ

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