School: Vancouver Community College
Employer: Hansel and Gretel Bakery
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
1. Could you please share a bit about yourself in terms of your educational and career background?
I started going to school for baking through the ace-it program at Vancouver Community College in my grade 12 year via New Westminster Secondary School. At the time, I was working at McDonald’s, finishing high school and beginning my career in pastry. After my first year of pastry school, I began working at Cloud 9 Specialty Bakery as a cake decorator. Following that, I bounced around and worked with bread at Cobs, specialty pastries at Ganache, high teas at Neverland Tea Salon and chocolates at Xoco Westcoast Chocolate. During that period, I finished my level 2 and took some time off from being in the kitchen. This month I finally got back into it at Hansel and Gretel Bakery, as a cake decorator, as well as having just finished my level 3 and am on to take my Red Seal examination.
2. What is your history with Skills Canada BC? Did you compete in the Regionals, Provincials, Nationals, WorldSkills?
I competed in Skills BC Provincials in 2017 and continued on to compete in Nationals in Halifax that same year. I am no longer competing but am taking part as the Skills BC National Alumni Representative on the National Alumni Committee and still attend competitions, conferences and various events.
3. What would you say has been your biggest personal or professional success?
I think that this year as a whole has been filled with my biggest personal and professional successes. This year I was given the opportunity to get experience in management, participate whole heartedly in Skills, complete my level 3 for baking, get my ideal job in the industry, learn a bit of carpentry as well as finally being able to invest in my home and future.
4. What motivated you to pursue your chosen trade or technology path?
As a kid I was in the kitchen a lot with my grandma, the kitchen has just always been a place of comfort for me. When I was presented with the idea of pursuing baking as a career, I took the opportunity to jump into it and give it a chance. From that point forward, I never really looked back. Yes, I had my doubts and hurdles here and there, but getting through them with my head held high is what made me want to continue to learn something new everyday and have fun doing it. As the saying goes, if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
5. Can you tell us something about your trade that most people don’t know, or that you wish they knew?
Something that typically comes as a surprise to most people is the terminology and science included in baking. When most people think of baking, they think of the physical aspect but there’s also the technical aspect. The terminology, equations and chemistry that we need to be knowledgeable on in order for baking to be successful.
6. What is your vision for success in the future in your career?
My vision and current timeline for success in my field would be to complete the Red Seal examination and earn my hours at Hansel and Gretel to obtain my Red Seal within the next year. Following that and until I retire, I want to continue to push myself and keep learning new things everyday. Anywhere from products, to flavours and techniques. In order to be successful in my field, there needs to be open mindedness to constant learning, and I think that will be the key to being successful as a baker and be able to work towards my own bakery.
7. What advice would you give to students who are thinking of pursuing a skilled trade or technology opportunity?
Take chances, don’t let the unknown hold you back. There’s no time like now to jump into something and see if you like it, because even if you don’t, it shows that you tried and have some form of knowledge on that trade or technology. I have been given so many amazing opportunities through the trades, in my opinion, it’s worth getting your foot in the door even if you’re unsure and seeing where it takes you.