By Barbara Lauer
By Barbara Lauer
Team Canada came within a breadstick of bringing home the Louis Lesaffre Cup 2007 for Central and North America this past spring
Team Canada came within a breadstick of bringing home the Louis Lesaffre Cup 2007 for Central and North America this past spring. Mexico barely edged us out, winning the right to compete in Paris; the international panel of judges was so impressed with the Canadian baking professionals, and their products, that they invited them to open Europain 2008. It takes more than pride, passion and professionalism to get to the Olympics of world baking, however – think dollars and cents.
The three Team Canada members (Tracey Muzzolini, Bill Clay and Didier Julien), as well as their coach – Mario Fortin – have dedicated hours, weeks, if not entire months of their lives travelling across Canada, in order to practise as a team. Each has a particular baking specialty – baguettes and specialty bread, Viennese pastries or the artistic piece, which is “bread as a symbol” of their country. Flights from Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Nova Scotia are costly, as are hotel rooms, parking, taxis, meals, uniforms, ingredients and materials. Practice not only makes perfect, it makes a team function as precisely as a Swiss watch.
With one hour to plan the day before the competition, eight hours to prepare the competitive baked good and one additional hour to clean up (and the cleanliness of your work area is included in the judgment), a confident, finely tuned, well-rehearsed team is essential to demonstrating Canada’s finest in baking professionalism. Time, plus tools, is critical to Team Canada – even to make us proud as they open the Europain 2008 competition in March. What is it worth to you?
Tracey Muzzolini found the entire experience of being part of Team Canada and competing in the Coupe Louis Lesaffre one of the most profound experiences of her life. It’s given her the opportunity to learn and grow as a baker – as well as share her passion for baking with others. Mario Fortin, who launched the first Team Canada in 2004, felt it was time for our industry to showcase the image of a dynamic, innovative and forward-looking profession. Canada already had successful teams competing in cuisine, pastry and chocolate, so baking was long overdue. With proper funding from industry sponsors, Team Canada for Baking is an opportunity to profile excellence, creativity and a team spirit, as well as highlight emerging talent, since the minimum age limit to participate is 20 and the maximum 50.
The U.S. won in 2005, and will be back to protect its toque in France 2008, against France, Japan and the other countries that won in the global regions this year. Isn’t it time we started paying more attention – and more out of our pockets – to support Team Canada in its baking efforts on an ongoing basis? Digging a little deeper might mean the difference between an “also ran” and the next Europain World Cup champions. Pride, passion and professionalism – Canada’s baking team has it all, they simply need your financial support to bring home the gold next time.
Be proud to be a baker by being part of Team Canada!