Editor’s Letter: Back to Basics
By Bakers Journal
What a summer it has been! We’ve come through a lot in the last three months. Bakeries managed to pull through in ways that some cafés and restaurants could not. What is the secret to their success? It may involve the code of every baker and patissier: Getting back to the basics. It might mean revisiting their core values to provide their house speciality, the baked good that was the reason they wanted open a bakery, and not following social-media-driven trends.
“Back to the basics” could mean providing a service of basic necessities their neighbourhood. Once upon a time, bread was the staple of every house, and during the pandemic, bakeries thrived bringing freshly baked bread, or the ingredients to make the same, for home bakers.
Many have gone back to the basics by providing clients services that were not a part of their original business plan. While some bakeries provided pantry staples, like flour, sugar and yeast, others helped out their neighbourhood by providing sanitizers, paper towel and other sundries.
The real test to business’s resilience lay in how they could promote their bakeries, provide much-needed supplies, or find their niche online. Take Khaos Artisan Bakery, for instance. This bakery was not threatened by the surge in home-baking that some companies would see as competition to their craft.
Kymm Moore, the owner, provides advice for first-time sourdough bakers. She turned her garage into a impromptu farmer’s market, where she sold her cookies, whole grain breads and even sourdough starter to her customers.
However, her dedication to customer service doesn’t end there. Where some bakeries would provide sourdour starters or poolish, Moore went the extra mile for the fledgling home bakers, by providing online lessons and advice.
The spirit of community was strong this summer, and we saw this in numerous ways, from helping neighbours and neighbourhood companies. “Back to Basics” may be about all natural or plant-based, but it can also be about getting back to your core talents as a chef.
The owner of the hundred-years old institution, Kimberley City Bakery has decided to downsize, but not quit. Instead of creating several hundred varieties of breads an pastries, Eric Forbes decided to get back to basics and spend more time with his family. He’s not quitting the bakery business, just reinventing it: KCB now lives on as a food truck in Alberta that provides freshly baked bread. For the Forbes family, “Back to Basics” meant focusing on his speciality and thinking outside the confines of the bricks-and-mortar bakery.
For True Grain, “Back to Basics” means working with the world’s oldest grains. Normally, when a baker starts talking about whole grains and sustainable farming practices, eyes glaze over and attention spans diminish. However, True Grain’s owners are working with farmers to create cookies that are so delicious you’ll forget they are high in fibre and fall into the “better-for-you” category of treats.
In this issue you’ll read about two different issues that are driving change in the way we see Canada, and how our food industry is evolving. We are slowly on the path to better inclusion of other cultures, but that change has to come from the top on down. Whether our industry is speaking of crisis management during a pandemic, or working through creating a diverse and equitable food industry, Bakers Journal is eager to hear your story.