Meeting people is one of the best parts of my job. I love how many
fascinating, intelligent and warm individuals I’ve chatted with since
joining Bakers Journal. The Canadian baking industry is bursting with
heart, passion and a tireless work ethic.
Meeting people is one of the best parts of my job. I love how many fascinating, intelligent and warm individuals I’ve chatted with since joining Bakers Journal. The Canadian baking industry is bursting with heart, passion and a tireless work ethic. Our inaugural Innovator of the Year contest proved to be one of my favourite opportunities to hear some truly remarkable stories.
Congratulations to Donna van Veghel-Wood, her husband Frank and son Joel of Baked at Frankie’s for capturing the Innovator of the Year crown. This gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, corn-free, dairy-free and sometimes egg-free bakery in small-town Ontario is a safe haven for celiacs and others with all types of food sensitivities. We’re very impressed and proud of the calibre of all the nominations we received and those five we short-listed: We Bake In Heels (Vaughan, Ont.), Bunner’s (Toronto), Manoucher Bread (Toronto), Baker Street (Toronto) and Baked at Frankie’s (Uxbridge, Ont.). Thank you for your entries and your time in telling us about your businesses. And, big thanks to the folks at Fuller Landau for their time and input in sponsoring this award. They’re the great advice behind the Ask the Business Advisor column you find in each issue.
During this contest I was reminded of how bakeries take on the personalities of their owners, much like pets can mimic their masters. The mood and the food of food service all flow from the top down. The personal touches can be some of the most intriguing to a customer. As a non-bakery example, I was recently at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y., birthplace of the Buffalo chicken wing, only to find motorcycles perched above my head and license plates all over the place. Not sure what two wheelers have to do with chicken wings, but I’d bet the founders have a fondness for bikes. Don’t be afraid to bring yourself into your bakery. Have fun with personalizing your business, even if you break a design rule here and there. It’s yours, after all, and you’re the one who makes the rules.
You’re also probably the one who’s made a second, if not practically first, home out of your bakery. Bakers work diligently, often for long hours. Take time to pat yourself on the back once in a while. It’s truly a vocation sustained by a passion for food and feeding others, one of the most primal of all human activities. We all need to eat and life is made so much better when we eat well.
This edition honours our Innovator of the Year, but every issue of Bakers Journal is dedicated to the innovators, creators and bakery makers that comprise a vital part of our food supply. Memories are made around the kitchen table as, I’m sure, they were made around the fire at the dawn of mankind. Each day you celebrate this fact in the very existence of your bakery. Be sure to take a day to celebrate yourself!
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