Bakers Journal

Editor’s Letter: Celebrating women

February 27, 2023
By Colleen Cross

Janet and Tracey Muzzolini represent two high-achieving generations of Saskatoon’s Christies Bakery. They will be at Bakery Showcase in May. PHOTOS: CHRISTIES BAKERY

When given an opportunity, women can successfully start and lead businesses in the baking industry. That is clear from our conversations with female bakers and bakery owners.

What’s also clear is that women will make their own opportunity where one doesn’t exist. Or at least they will carry on working, learning, building their business plan – and most of all believing – to make their baking dreams a reality even when the opportunities don’t seem to be there.

How do they do it? They refuse to accept no for an answer, they find other sources of money and support to get up and running, and they work twice as hard as their male counterparts to be debt-free and sustainably successful.

Because for any entrepreneur failure is not an option.

Pioneering women before us have faced obstacles and attitudes from banks and other institutions when they applied for loans to get the business started and in some cases created a new model and definition of success.

Tracey Muzzolini represents the new generation of Christies Bakery in Saskatoon who stand on the shoulders of her parents, Ennio and Janet, who took over the venerable bakery in the 1960s and took it to new heights. Muzzolini blazed a trail in male-dominated artisan baking, competing at Louis Lesaffre Cup and other world events, building the pizza side of the bakery and serving as a judge on The Food Network’s exciting Wall of Bakers, which showcases Canadian talent.

Now co-owner of Christies with brother Blair, she says she did not face the same level of discrimination as her mother did in the early days, but she still understands that we’re not quite there yet. She will join us for an exciting Women in Baking panel at Bakery Showcase in May sponsored by Ardent Mills.

“I think it is important to highlight the success of women in baking or in any industry,” says Elaine O’Doherty, marketing lead Canada at Ardent Mills and moderator of the panel.

“It provides younger generations with someone to look up to, to aspire to be, thus creating a pipeline for the future in this industry. 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. I think it can help all boats rise with the tide.”

We at Bakers Journal have been working busily with the Baking Association of Canada to plan an inspiring and useful program of speaker sessions for the BAC’s Bakery Showcase May 14-15, 2023. The program will address key themes and concerns and inspire professionals at bakeries large and small through the sharing of experiences.

And, opening on Mother’s Day, it will celebrate women’s diverse roles within this vibrant industry! The Women in Baking panel will shine the light on remarkable entrepreneurs, including Muzzolini; Mary Mackay, vice-president of innovation and production at Terra Breads Inc.;  and Babette Kourelos, owner of Babette’s Bread, TipTree competition judge and cookbook author.

There will be sweet surprises for mums attending, a Women in the Canadian Pizza Industry panel, up-and-coming bakers and a who’s who of women in the industry gathering to network and raise one another up! Showcase is in the West this year, so we strongly encourage you to join us if you can make the trip. The next time Showcase comes to Vancouver will be 2027!

It’s the ideal place to meet and share with inspiring baking professionals. Visit bakeryshowcasecanada.ca for details. 

See you there!


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