Over 70 people registered for our first Bakers’ Town Hall in Victoria
at Camosun College’s culinary facility, generously hosted by Chef
David Lang and faculty. The event, which was originally planned as
a small, informal get-together, soon outgrew the original venue, so
we were grateful for Camosun’s offer.
The delegates came from all disciplines of the industry, and from
all over British Columbia, even though this was touted as a local
event. There were pastry chefs, chocolatiers, artisan and commercial
bakers, workers and owners. Many brought samples of their
products and there was a veritable cornucopia to enjoy!
The event was facilitated by the Baking Association of Canada
with the aim of talking with grass roots and emerging bakers,
hearing these voices and encouraging membership in the BAC.
Judging by the number of attendees, this event was long overdue!
Mark Dyck (Bakers 4 Bakers online forum and Rise Up! podcast)
emceed the event. As one of the main themes was to celebrate new
and emerging businesses, Mark moderated a panel of three
entrepreneurs who are embarking on, building out or scaling up
their businesses: Leah Hayward, Smør Scandinavian Bakery (in
planning); Louise Pickles, Hank and Ludo (opening this year); and
Josh Houston, Stark Raving Bread (scaling up and building out a
These bold, adventurous panellists gave us a candid insight into
the bakery business building process. This was followed by a
Brainstorm/Slam in which each table had to tackle four questions
in 10 minutes: What are your major challenges? What are your
recent successes? What are your priorities? What would you like
to see at a future local event?
Because of time constraints, we had to shut down the earnest and enthusiastic conversations after 20 minutes. Eavesdropping, the conversations between people who had only just met were lively, enquiring, respectful and urgent. See the table below for a summary of the responses.
Executive director Martin Barnett welcomed bakers with these words: “It’s been a long time since we’ve all been able to meet like this. Since March of 2020, all of us have seen the world change, have felt the ground shifting beneath our feet. We’ve seen shortages, shutdowns, unrest and uncertainty. It has been a time of retrenching and replanning, reworking budgets and stretching resources. These years have shown our communities, and Canada, what is really important – it’s us. It’s bakers. It’s true! One of the warmest words in English, or French, is “companion” – one who breaks bread with another.”
He and B.C. Chapter president Gary Humphreys gave a short presentation on the joys of BAC membership and Bakery Showcase in Vancouver, and Chef David Lang talked about Camosun College, opportunities for students in work placement and the future vison of baking- and pastry-themed courses to satisfy local demand for training. There was also a draw for two gift baskets generously provided by Snow Cap Enterprises.
BAC would like to thank all those volunteers who made the event
possible, those who brought wonderful goodies, the faculty of
Camosun College Culinary as well as those who travelled across the province to attend.
We look forward to replicating the Bakers’ Gathering across the
country as a way to connect and reconnect to our industry.
Not a member of the BAC yet, or know someone who would like to
join? Sign up here: https://baking.ca/membership.