The Great Canadian Baking Show
I am a pastry chef.
This site is an anthology of my experiences related to food; which is basically everything about me.
I grew up in rural Ontario; surrounded by small farms in a lakeside oasis where fresh and local produce was readily available. I won my first pie baking contest at the age of 6 and have been baking ever since.
My formal culinary training occurred at Algonquin College in Ottawa in the early '90s while I was completing my bachelor’s degree from the University of Ottawa. In truth; I went to cooking school because my mother and grandmother before her worked in kitchens and were great cooks. During university, I realized that I hadn't paid as much attention to them as I should have. I wasn't a very good cook. I could bake....but not cook.
Combining a Culinary Management Diploma with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts Degree is an excellent way to round out education and the combination has provided me with many opportunities.
After graduating I became Flight Attendant and traveled to major cities around 5 continents before realizing my dream of entrepreneurship.
In 2004 I opened a pastry shop and café; Madeleines Cherry Pie and Ice Cream, in Toronto. Madeleines’ was the perfect platform to share my passion for tradition, using only local and sustainable ingredients. I realized that there were a lot of people like me who wanted familiar recipes and real food so I brought my mom and my brother onboard and together we built the Madeleines.ca brand. Working with my family was the best experience in the world. Their combined experience, talent, tenacity and drive resonated in everything we baked.
My father was a marine mechanic and alongside of being our chief tasting expert he also taught the most valuable skill; using the right tool for the right job is essential. (And the mantra sticks in my head A place for everything and everything in its place...)
Drawing on my experience working in cafes and restaurants and bringing in apprentices from around the world, in 2012 we expanded the operation and opened a bespoke wholesale production kitchen catering to fine food retailers, grocers, cafes and restaurants.
The acumen I acquired as a business leader is entrenched in my passion for pastry as a craft. Success comes from understanding that the combination of art and science in baking is really a microcosm of all things.
This led to a role as a resident guest teacher at George Brown College School of Continuing Education and has given me the chance to enable others to follow their dreams.
Over the years my passion and business have attracted the attention of local and national media with an abundance of press. Most memorable was the recurring spot as the in-house pastry expert on CBC's Steven and Chris where I shared seasonal recipes, and tips and tricks for home baking.
In 2019 I joined the Franchise of The Great British Bake Off as a Judge on The Great Canadian Baking Show. Judging 10 of Canada's best home bakers, Each week one person is awarded the Star Baker title after three bakes are judge for flavour, bake, design and overall quality. In the Finale Canada's Best Amateur Baker is crowned! The show is featured in 20 different countries and has an estimated worldwide audience of 350 million. The Canadian version is now in it's 4th Season and can be viewed on CBC, CBC GEM, Netflix and Amazon Prime and new episodes boast an average of 1.4m viewers each episode on CBC.
Having relocated to London, England, I was hired by the iconic Savoy Hotel in the Strand as the Talent Development Manager for the Food and Beverage Department, training the next generation of Hospitality Industry Professionals. Unfortunately, the Hospitality industry has been brought to a halt and I am tucked in my flat eagerly awaiting the outcome.
I am focusing my time researching the concept of flavour. How something tastes depends on your experiences and memories, your chemistry, and your biology. I am fascinated with the behavioral science of creating memories through taste my goal is to map out the patterns behind the way I answer the question: How does it Taste?
In this site I share my own memories, tastes and experiences and I hope it inspires you to look at food with passion and interest.
I am delighted that baking has risen to the top of the activity charts during the last year. It is equally soothing, and challenging. It teaches math, chemistry, geography, language studies (translating your grandma's recipe into decipherable notes,) history and connects us as humans in this difficult time.
As my Mom always says; This Too Shall Pass. The skills we learn now are our treasures to keep forever.