Business and Operations
Firms donate oven to VIU
By Martin Barnett
MONO Equipment, RF Bakery Equipment come to aid of baking program
By Martin Barnett
Students in the professional baking and pastry arts program at Vancouver Island University are training on the most modern, state-of-the-art equipment available, thanks to a generous donation from MONO Equipment, in partnership with RF Bakery Equipment.
The Swansea, Wales-based company recently donated a MONO BX Classic 10-Tray Convection Oven to the program. The stainless-steel BX convection oven features a simple-to-use digital controller, nine programs to store your most frequently used bake cycles, a clear glass door, bi-directional fan to ensure an even bake, an integrated steam system and double-catch door handles.
“It’s a cutting-edge piece of equipment, which prepares students even more for future jobs in the industry,” says Martin Barnett, chairman of the professional baking and pastry arts program. “It’s replacing a tired oven that was on its last legs. We’re thrilled at the generosity of MONO Equipment and RF Bakery Equipment. Without this help, we would have had to try to make the old oven work, which would have been a challenge because parts were becoming obsolete.”
The donation came about after a conversation Barnett had with Vancouver-based RF Bakery Equipment, which supplies equipment to the VIU Baking Department, in August 2016.
“We mentioned that one of our ovens that we’ve had for 25 years needed replacing, and they said, ‘We’ll see what we can do,’” Barnett says.
In October 2016, RF Bakery Equipment was at the International Baking Industry Expo in Las Vegas, where accounts manager Randall Winters spoke with Donna Haynes, MONO Equipment’s export manager, about MONO’s BX convection ovens. The conversation came around to VIU’s need for a new oven, and they decided to band together to help. MONO provided the oven at no charge, and RF Bakery delivered and set up the oven at VIU’s Nanaimo campus at no charge.
“It was installed just before Christmas, and the students are loving the pre-settings and the evenly baked products it produces,” Barnett said. “We are so grateful to both MONO and RF for making this happen.”
VIU professional baking and pastry program kitchen has four ovens – two convection, one deck and one wood-fired oven – that are used by baking students, as well as culinary arts students and food services staff. The professional baking and pastry arts program is a production program, which means the students make products to sell to the university community and for the cafeteria. In light of the busy, live program and production schedule, Barnett says the oven is very important.
This is the first time the department has had a large piece of equipment donated outright, and Barnett believes it is a testament to the continued success of the program. “We’ve doubled the number of students going through our program, from 18 to 36 students at a time, plus apprentice upgrading,” he says. “We have become a nationally and internationally recognized program that deserves support.”
Both MONO and RF recognize that preparing students for jobs in the industry begins with the right training and tools, and to struggle through their courses using an oven that was not functioning properly didn’t make that task easy, says Andrew Jones, managing director at MONO Equipment.
“MONO is delighted to hear that our BX Classic 10-Tray Convection Oven has been so well received at Vancouver Island University,” he says. “It is also very gratifying to know that our oven will help future generations of bakers and pastry chefs hone their skills whilst studying for their qualifications at the university.”