The Toronto Congress Center was home to Canada’s Baking and Sweets Show, the largest such event in North America, for a three-day gathering Sept. 26 to 28.
The event brought together bakers from as far as Paris, France and as close as Woodbine Mall to showcase their work and bring awareness to their business.
TV’s The Cupcake Girls, Heather White and Lori Joyce were in attendance at this year’s show. Starting off in Vancouver and making their way to the east coast, White and Joyce are new to the Toronto scene and are looking to expand based on their trial run feedback.
“It’s hard when there’s only one store here to have the same support like we do in BC…so we’re looking to expand and build a marketplace,” White said.
The Cupcake Girls’ current Toronto location is in Leaside.
Buddy Valastro’s popular baking show Cake Boss also made an appearance this year. Valastro wasn’t at the show himself but he had representatives that have worked with him and his creations entertaining the crowd.
Jeff Foster, one of the Cake Boss representatives praised conventions like Canada’s Baking and Sweets Show for the fast-growing baking phenomenon.
“People like Buddy (Valastro) and Gordon Ramsay have raised the profile on the industry… People see it now as not just something you do when you’re going to school or when you’re growing up. I mean, there are viable careers,” said Foster.
Toronto-based, family-owned Select Bakery was one of the larger exhibitors in the Congress Center. Select specializes in Mediterranean pastries and cakes.
Owner Kosta Katsamakis believes that students pursuing a college diploma in baking are given better opportunities when looking for jobs after graduation.
“This is what we look at when I am hiring somebody, if I can have somebody that has the foundations I can bring them in and just hit the ground running,” Katsamakis said.
Yet there is still hope for those students who chose a program outside of the kitchen. Neither White nor Joyce has a baking or business background.
“We just saw a niche in the marketplace and thought that this is something that the community and public want, and they did,” White said.