Editor’s Letter: Holidays and “The New Normal”
By Bakers Journal
Normally, this time of year we all take time to gather and discuss our year and plans for the new year. COVID-19 has made us look inward, and consider our health a bit more seriously.
It’s been a solemn start to the holiday season. Many gathered around a diminished table, unable to see friends and family due to travel restrictions. Trade shows were cancelled or rescheduled, leaving many businesses in the lurch. While online webinars and virtual meetings spiked, many people are left wondering when we can shake hands again. When will it be proper to hug a friend and co-worker without three layers of PPE?
Yet, despite the gloom, there is much to be thankful for. Compared to other countries, Canada is relatively unscathed. Yes, we have had too many deaths to feel truly safe, but many are aware that the death toll could have been higher. The food industry has been hit hard, but not as badly as other industries. Those who had strong online presences and active social media accounts to promote and advertise had survived better than bricks-and-mortar shops without an online presence.
Innovation these days means more than just being technically savvy: In this issue, you’ll read about François Murphy, who will share his inventive methods of plant-based baking from Food Forward. As more clients are looking towards more vegetarian options, having shelf-stable options to replace dairy or eggs is always welcome. With worries about the supply chain possibly breaking down, using legumes as aquafaba for an egg or dairy replacement might help any bakery in a pinch.
On the subject of shelf stable ingredients and customers looking for healthier options, you’ll read about how fruit and vegetable powders can also be used to create healthy but decadent treats. It’s not easy to create something to satisfy every palate, but adding a healthy touch to a decadent dessert can satisfy both those looking for veg-friendly recipes as well as those who seeking better-for-you choices.
I’ve said it before: Bakers are resilient. We can adapt to technology, or fit technology to our needs. From Apex Motion Control, creating robots to take on more than just heavy lifting, to more traditional chefs who follow their passions, the food industry is ready to meet almost any challenge.
This year’s Jake the Baker winner is a third generation bakery from St. Catharines, ON. St. Joseph Bakery and Deli was the result of newcomers who immigrated to Canada find a better life, leaving behind hardship and political unrest. Their fresh bread and cakes brings warmth to their customers’ souls. Clients come in for a taste of tradition, and return to share stories with the Kedzierski family, who take pride in getting to know their clients. Their story of giving will warm you like it has won over the judges and Ardent Mills, the Founding Sponsor of the Jake the Baker contest.
What I’ve learned through speaking with Derek Kedzierski was that distance is not an obstacle. Reaching out to friends and neighbours with festivals, deliveries and the spirit of giving brought the family a reputation as the most beloved bakery in the city. The bakery and the family name are renown for their generosity of spirit as well as the excellence of their baked goods.
This holiday season – whichever holidays you celebrate – think of your family and those who love you. These are challenging times, but it’s love that makes it worthwhile.