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BAC: Notes from the Executive Director

International Baking Industry Expo
It was a privilege to attend IBIE, the International Baking Expo, held in Las Vegas in September. Here was an opportunity to network with our colleagues from around the world, and expose ourselves to new ideas, products, machinery and equipment.

We met a large contingent of Canadians at the show, all eager to connect and, as with the other 20,000-odd visitors, celebrate the opportunity to finally meet and talk in person. We told many people about our own Bakery Showcase in Vancouver next May 14-15 and the feedback and eagerness to attend were very encouraging. We look forward to welcoming the bakery world to Canada in 2023!

Two highlights were a meet-and-greet with the directors of the American Bakers Association, and a gathering with our other partners, the Bread Bakers Guild of America. We are looking forward to continued collaboration between all our institutions.

Personally, I had many interesting and involved conversations on diverse subjects We had arguments, brainstormed and shared our common challenges. Sometimes we had to agree to disagree; however, the takeaway was always that our industry is in a good place, is growing and is committed to producing the most delicious and nutritious product, as well as respecting sustainability and our planet.

28 years ago
I was taken back to 1994 when we attended the RBA show in Vegas: it was my first big trade show and we took a precious two days off from behind the bench at Rising Star in Victoria, B.C. I was fascinated by the equipment and array of products available, but mostly, like a bug-eyed kid, I engaged with the demonstrations, which I feel are essential to any successful trade show. It was fall and at one of the equipment stands a baker was making white bread. He announced that the formula didn’t have any water in it, which of course, hooked us all. After he blended the dry ingredients, he took a case of ripe tomatoes and started throwing them, one by one, into the mixer until the correct consistency was achieved. The result: a beautiful silky, pink dough which baked into a tasty, interestingly flavoured loaf. I never forgot that recipe and have used it often. We have been blessed with a warm and sunny fall on Vancouver Island and our garden tomato harvest has been abundant. Time to make the tomato bread! Over the years I have adjusted the formula and now use a 100 per cent sourdough overnight process. You’ll find that recipe on page 16.

Education and training
Education is a cornerstone of the BAC. Having a well-trained, professional workforce ensures we can continue to operate efficiently, produce nutritious and delicious products safely, and provide meaningful employment with recognized credentials for our workforce. Apprenticeship (Red Seal) is evolving, and the BAC recently engaged with the Red Seal authorities to review the curriculum.

The Bakery Red Seal program is an excellent way to have your employees become certified (and proud) journeymen and journeywomen. Did you know the federal government pays grants to apprentices at all three levels of training? Applicants can access $1,000 in each of the first two years and $2,000 at completion. Please share this link with your staff and HR departments: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/apprenticeship-incentive-overview.html 

We will be identifying gaps in our training opportunities and sharing with you opportunities and challenges. We will engage with all of our training suppliers from coast to coast. Colleges are also great resources to find bakery staff. Nearly all of them will publish your vacancy postings to graduates.

At Showcase in Vancouver May 14-15, 2023, we will have a broad panel discussion with all stakeholders on the subject of training and staff retention and there will be an opportunity for all those interested to contribute. If you have concerns, challenges or suggestions on this very important topic, please contact us at BAC info@baking.ca.

World Skills baking and pastry competition
Emma Kilgannon won Bronze for Canada at the World Skills Special Edition baking and pastry competition in Lucerne, Switzerland, Oct. 10-15. Led by Team Canada coach Alan Dumonceaux of NAIT, Emma competed in Pâtisserie & Confectionery, making circus-themed marzipan figurines, a sugar stand with entremet, chocolate bonbons and a chocolate showpiece. Read about her win at the Canadian national competition: https://www.foodserviceandhospitality.com/humber-college-graduate-claims-top-spot-at-skills-canada-national-competition/

Remember to register for our chapter events this fall. All proceeds go towards funding for our baking and pastry students. As this is the last issue of the year, the Baking Association of Canada wishes to take this opportunity to wish you all season’s greetings, however you celebrate, and a healthy and prosperous 2023!

Martin Barnett
Executive Director
Baking Association of Canada
mbarnett@baking.ca

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