Bakers Journal

Notes from the Executive Director: June 2024

June 5, 2024
By Martin Barnett, Executive Director, Baking Association of Canada

Leah Hayward, owner, Smør Scandinavian Bakery, Sidney, B.C. PHOTOS: LEAH HAYWARD; JANICE MANSFIELD, YONNIS DOUGHNUTS

It is bittersweet to say goodbye to a member of our team, but Leah Hayward, our membership and events coordinator, is leaving BAC to (pause for effect) open her own bakery, Smør Scandinavian Bakery in Sidney, B.C. (https://www.smor.ca).

Leah is a graduate of the Professional Baking and Pastry Program at Vancouver Island University and exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit that our industry celebrates. Leah was also a recipient of a Futurepreneur grant to help kickstart her business and, at Bakery Showcase last month, it was a pleasure to introduce her to fellow baker the Honorable Rechie Valdez, federal minister of small business development, whose department administers this program. Leah will be missed but I am sure you will join me in wishing her all the best in her new venture.

You will read in this issue details of the successful Bakery Showcase recently held in Toronto. Our BAC chair, Louis Bontorin, and board of directors would like to thank all the sponsors, exhibitors and attendees, as well as our partners and show managers, Annex Business Media and all the support staff who joined together to make this a wonderful event! We will see you in Montreal April 14-15, 2025!

Handtmann depositor at Yonnis Doughnuts, Victoria

We had a lot of conversations at Bakery Showcase on modern bakery technology and artisan baking and how the gap between the two was narrowing. If a small bakery wants to survive in today’s market, as they scale up, it is more economical to invest in equipment rather than space and more labour. Equipment manufacturers are scaling down production equipment to meet the requirements of the expanding artisan baking sector. For many years traditional bakers shied away from these technological opportunities (this writer being one of them), but I would gladly trade those years of back-breaking benchwork and burned-out labour for machines that would help with consistency and production without compromising the quality of the finished product.

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At a recent visit to Yonnis Doughnuts in Victoria, B.C., we were surprised to find in this small commissary of 1,000 square feet, a shining depositor. Janice Mansfield, the bakery manager, is delighted with this acquisition. The doughnuts are more consistent, they are spending less time producing them and the staff are able to use their time more creatively. 

We have reached out to the equipment manufacturers for their thoughts on this trend and plan on dedicating a more in-depth article in a future Bulletin.

VICTORIA BAKERY FIRE
On May 21 a fire at Rising Star Wholesale Bakery destroyed the long-established Victoria facility. We are happy to report that no one was hurt and wish them a speedy rebuild.

It is tragic to have a disaster at one’s bakery. It affects not only the business but also those who work there, and their families, the owner’s investment, the goodwill, inability to supply to customers as well as ingredient contracts. The ripple effect reaches deeply into the community.

Having an unplanned production-altering challenge is something we hope to avoid, whether it is a fire, or an accident, flood, product recall or equipment failure or any of the many other hazards that can cause business interruption.

Take the time to audit safety procedures and have regular meetings as well as contingency plan. Review insurance policies and make sure all personnel are trained.

We are lucky to have a very supportive industry who will rally round if a colleague needs support and assistance.


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