Notes from the Executive Director: Matters light and serious
February 28, 2023
By Martin Barnett
Bagels have been in the peripheral news recently. First of all, Nike came out with a Montreal Bagel sneaker. I was delighted. What better way to celebrate our culture and our industry? And comfortable too. I thought I would purchase a pair and flaunt them at Showcase. Maybe even buy a pair for all of the Baking Association’s directors. All I would have to do is phone up Nike and ask them. They would probably be wondering why I hadn’t contacted them to construct a campaign to conjoin both organizations. I had the catchphrases already penned with terms like “Great Jump” and “Spring” or “The Ring is our Thing.” Anyway, after a few fruitless attempted phone calls when I realized that Nike does not take any phone calls, I set my sights a little lower and decided to purchase my own pair for $120. Sounds like an easy task? Not so. They all sold out within an hour! If that happened at a real bagel shop you would make another batch! If I want to have a pair, now I have to go on Poshmark, through a reseller, and they are going for US$500!
The second mention of bagels in popular culture is the “Everything Bagel” depicted in Everything Everywhere All At Once. The award-winning movie, staring Michelle Yeoh and directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, is an absurdist comedy-drama navigating interpersonal issues through the allegory of the infinite multiverse. Apart from dazzling us with back-hole theory and the Schwartzchild radius theory, what we have in this movie is the perfect representation of all life in the universe as manifested in (or from) an “Everything Bagel.” I am happy to debate the finer points of all this, but I am convinced, and all bakers know this, that boiled dough with a (w)hole in it is an easily defended definition of the meaning of life!
However, we have some serious matters to consider. We are often talking about labour issues, staff retention and job satisfaction. “Focus and Simplify” by Karen Bornarth from the Bread Bakers Guild of America, explains an initiative by the Good Jobs Institute in the U.S. Please read Karen’s thoughtful editorial as it is so relevant to all of us as we try to navigate our human resources challenges in a constantly changing environment.
As some of you know, membership in the BAC includes a free one-year membership in the Bread Bakers Guild of America. With that comes access to the forum and their publication Bread Lines, a wonderful journal full of innovative technical recipes and products as well as reports of their interesting workshops. We are proud of our affiliation with our partners at the BBGA. If you would like to access both institutions from Canada, please sign up at
www.baking.ca/membership. It’s free to Canadian baking and pastry students enrolled in a full-time or apprenticeship program!
Martin Barnett, Executive Director
Baking Association of Canada
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