Strolling around Paris with a baguette, some fine cheese and a taste for the European way of doing things is something some dream of, others do it.
Krystal Dickinson is doing it. She is heading to Europe for 16 days as part of a contingent of aspiring bakers from Vancouver Island University.
The Professional Baking program students will be immersed in old world traditions and new innovations in their chosen profession. They will attend the world’s largest professional baking and pastry making industry exposition, take workshops in test kitchens and tour the Callebaut chocolate factory in Brussels.
It’s all incredibly exciting for Dickinson, a recent graduate from Edward Milne community school and the Culinary Arts Program.
“It was so much fun,” said Dickinson of the culinary program at EMCS. “I graduated last year and did it all through Grade 10, 11 and 12. It was two instructors, Pia Carroll and Marion French who inspired me — definitely.”
Dickinson is in her first year at VIU and plans to carry on for another two to acquire her Red Seal in baking.
At first Dickinson wanted to be a pastry chef but has now decided baking bread was in her future and this baking venture into the centre of Europe is her chance to learn through travel.
“I want to learn a lot of old European baking ways. In Canada we don’t have old traditions like in France.”
She said they have strict regulations on what animals are fed and what or what doesn’t go into the traditional French baguette.
Cheese is another favorite for Dickinson and she looks forward to tasting European cheese because she can’t eat North American cheese for some reason but European cheese is edible.
What’s her favorite baked product currently? Dickinson said croissants rank right up there as number one.
“I’m a big fan of making croissants, I’ve loved them for so long, now I can make them.”
Her dream after all her training would be to work as a baker at the Empress Hotel in Victoria. She said she has had her eye on it ever since the culinary class tools field trips there.
“I just love making bread,” she said.
The baking program’s Study Abroad experience gives students a different dimension on their chosen field,” said VUI baking instructor Martin Barnett. “Study Abroad experiences like our visit to Europe provide deep connections, higher thinking, an opportunity to engage in discussion and research in this industry, and of course the chance to learn through travel.”
Students spent hundreds of hours fundraising to defray trip expenses. The trip began on March 1.