Twenty years ago, ACE Bakery was born. It is one of Canada’s great culinary success stories and, from humble beginnings, founder Linda Haynes has spread a love of good bread across Canada and the U.S.
During this, their 20th anniversary this year, the ACE team is creating an Artisan Incubator to help 20 other artisans achieve the success they deserve.
The Artisan Incubator will also celebrate the thousands of talented and hard-working artisans who put their heart and soul into everything they make; the joys of artisan food; the importance of local and sustainable food producers, and the vital contribution of artisan entrepreneurs to communities across Canada.
The Artisan Incubator is a national public showcase which will recognize and honour up-and-coming artisans who are helping change the way we all think about food.
With a national committee of Tastemakers, many of whose names are already well known, ACE Bakery will select 20 deserving artisans from across Canada, bring them to Toronto this June, celebrate their craft, introduce their foods to a wider public, and share what ACE has learned over the last 20 years.
The selected artisans will:
- Be featured in media interviews to tell their story and promote artisan food making.
- Travel to Toronto June 20, 2013 for an Artisan Incubator event to honor the selected artisans and showcase their products.
- Attend an Artisan Seminar/Discussion June 21, 2013 about developing an artisan business, including branding, marketing and business planning.
- Host two or three one-hour public workshops for the public June 21 and 22, 2013.
- Receive airfare and accommodation for travel to Toronto as well as a per diem of $250.00.
- Have the chance to be one of twenty selected for further business development opportunities.
Though there is no single definition of artisan food, it’s a term used to describe food produced by non-industrialized methods, often handed down through generations. Tastes and processes, such as fermentation are allowed to develop slowly and naturally, rather than curtailed for mass-production. For ACE Bakery, it means handcrafting, small batches, exceptional ingredients, traditional techniques, and taking the time to do things right.
For the past month the Tastemakers and the Incubator team have searched for small scale, up-and-coming artisans that are committed to these artisan ideals.
- Understand and respect the raw materials with which they work. Know where these materials come from and what is good about them.
- Have mastered the craft of their particular production and have a historical, experiential, intuitive and scientific understanding of what makes the process that they are engaged in successful.
- Know what tastes good and be sensitive to the impact of their production on people and the environment.
- Get better over time and probably never stop improving or tweaking their practice, learning from other people and their own mistakes.
- Be open-minded and strive to understand and master artisan processes such as fermentation, and others that have a habit of surprising us.
- Care deeply about their customers and the integrity of their product.
- Be part of a structured, formal group that has been working together for some period of time, and which makes product that has market potential in a local or national context.
- Want to grow their business.