Baking students bound for Paris

Excitement is building among students and staff in Vancouver Island University’s professional baking program.

Julia Tschanz and Kevin Friesen are among 30 Vancouver Island University professional baking students heading to Paris in March to attend the Europain baking and pastry convention.

Julia Tschanz and Kevin Friesen are among 30 Vancouver Island University professional baking students heading to Paris in March to attend the Europain baking and pastry convention.

Excitement is building among students and staff in Vancouver Island University’s professional baking program.

That’s because 30 current and past students and four faculty members are off on a two-week sojourn to Paris March 1-15 to attend the biggest baking trade show in the world.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do with my students,” said Martin Barnett, chairman of VIU’s professional baking and pastry department.

“The Europain baking and pastry convention happens once every three years. Students will learn so much by observing world-class bakers who have honed techniques passed down through the generations,” he said. “They’ll learn things we can’t teach in a traditional classroom.”

The five-day trade show attracts close to 90,000 attendees and more than 600 exhibitors who will demonstrate their craft.

The convention includes five internationally renowned competitions where bakers from all over the world compete, including the LeSaffre Coupe du Monde de Boulangerie  (World Baking Cup Competition).

“I’ve never been overseas before,” said student Kevin Friesen, who moved from Winnipeg to Nanaimo to take VIU’s 10-month baking program. “I was excited to move to B.C. to begin school, but now the opportunity to study in Paris is icing on the cake.”

Classmate Julia Tschanz is also looking forward to visiting Paris and learning new trends, techniques and ideas from professional French bakers.

“I hope to learn as much as possible and return to Canada to apply new techniques to my own bakery one day,” she said.

Students going to Paris hope to raise $11,000 to offset travel costs. They are running a series of bake sales in the main cafeteria at VIU’s Nanaimo campus, offering holiday goodies.

Bake sale dates are Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) and Dec. 7-8.