“Joanne” was finally able to pursue her passion for baking when she came to Canada.
Before arriving in Toronto, she would collect baking recipes, but she never attempted to create anything because she could not afford to purchase the ingredients.
Joanne is now one of four volunteer Bake Oven Animators with the CRC Regent Park Community Food Centre.
“I am really enjoying the program because I get to operate the bake oven and meet new people,” Joanne explains. “I joined this program because I love to be involved with the community that I live in. Despite my full time job and kids, I am passionate about learning new things.”
When Joanne first found work and starting earning an income, she began to bake things like cookies, brownies, chocolate cakes, and rice krispie squares. She realized how much she enjoyed baking and she enrolled in the baking arts program at George Brown College, where she learned a lot and gained much experience. She is now a head trainer for a bakery.
A few months ago, she saw a posting for the Bake Oven Animator Training Program in the community.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to learn about how a wood fired oven works. I know how to operate a conventional oven, but the opportunity to bake and cook in a traditional wood fired oven would be such a unique experience.”
Joanne has since had the opportunity to make her own focaccia, apple crumble, cinnamon buns, pizza, bread, and more.
“I would highly recommend this program to everyone because it’s a great way to be involved with the community while learning new skills. Through this program, in my new role as a Bake Oven Animator, I have also helped organize 3 different community bake oven events in the past few months.”
“Overall, this has been good learning experience for me and I am so happy to help others from the community learn about and experience our community bake oven together!”
The Bake Oven is located in the Big Park in Regent Park right next to the Community Gardens, where nutritious vegetables are grown by neighbours, and as part of the Greenhouse, where seedlings get their start before replanting.
By Zahrah Munas, Park Coordinator