Bakers Journal

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VIU baking students off to Europe for industry immersion


March 3, 2014
By Bakers Journal

March 3, 2014, Nanaimo, B.C.— Forty-five students and alumni
from Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) professional baking program left March
1 for a study abroad trip to Europe.  

Highlights of the 16-day trip include five days at Paris’
Europain, an international professional baking and pastry making expo, two full
days of workshops in the test kitchens of ingredient manufacturer Puratos near
Brussels, and a tour of the Callebaut’s chocolate factory; also in Brussels. 

VIU Baking instructor Martin Barnett and a faculty team
took the first group of baking program students to Europe in 2012, and says
he’s pleased there’s been even more support from industry partners in welcoming
and educating VIU students during this year’s trip.

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Students and alumni from the baking program going back to
2004 will be exposed to the latest innovations in an industry that encompasses
every corner of the globe, Barnett says.

“They’ll see that they are part of a worldwide
industry, and have a chance to see the crème de la crème; the very best
innovations in the industry."

During their five days at Europain, the group will watch some
of the world’s finest bakers compete in the World Baking Masters, and visit a
trade show floor the size of multiple football fields to view cutting edge
innovations in production techniques and commercial and industrial baking
equipment, as well as the latest micro-ingredients used in the art of fine
pastry making.

Another day of workshops will be hosted in the test kitchens
of Lesaffre, a long-established yeast manufacturing company in Lille, France.

The Baking program’s study abroad experience gives students
a different dimension on their chosen field, Barnett says. 

“In the 2012 trip they loved it because they understood they
were connected to a worldwide fellowship of bakers.”

As part of the Professional Baking and Pastry Arts program
at VIU, Barnett believes that students are exposed to elements of a university
education that can open up possibilities for their future they might not have
imagined.

“Study abroad experiences like our visit to Europe provide
deep connections, higher thinking, an opportunity to engage in discussion and
research in this industry, and of course the chance to learn through travel.”

Baking students have spent hundreds of hours fundraising to
defray trip expenses – baking and working at the Bite of Nanaimo and the
Festival of Trees, and selling chocolates and baked goods to students and in
the community. 

Baking student Sheena Howdle, from Red Deer, Alta., says
she’s looking forward to meeting members of the Bread Bakers Guild of America
at Europain, and writing an article for the guild’s newsletter, Bread
Lines.  Fellow student Krystal Dickinson, from Sooke, says she’s excited
about sampling and working with Europe’s famously rich butter and cheese, and
visiting old world bakeries in Belgium and France.