About me: At the age of about five I can remember being put in charge of watching and waiting for the big bowl of bread dough to rise in front of the hearth in our little house in Manchester, England. I think that was where I learned that a small gesture of a loaf of bread given to an ailing neighbour can bring smiles and goodwill. It was a lesson that I never forgot. My Mum had very little to share but share she
did and it left a lasting impression on me. I learned my craft by trial and error, and there were many errors believe me. No cooking shows on the television or food magazines in those days. Indeed there weren't many cookbooks to learn from in the fifties and sixties. So I practiced on my family and realized that I really loved to feed people.
When we came to Canada I already had four small children and decided that when they grew up I would finally find my career path and go out into the world. In the meantime, the world came to me in the form of my children's friends who came over after school to sample whatever I had made that day. It still surprises me today when a forty-plus man approaches me and says, "Aren't you Neil's mum? I used
to come to your house and have cookies . Do you still make that great chocolate cake and can I get the recipe, my kids would love it?"
My daughters encouraged me to try to sell my experiments at a local farmers market and accompanied me on the first day there. We sold out in a few hours and further encouraged, I baked a lot more and we went back the following week, only to sell out once more. This was a revelation to me as I thought that what I made had little value to anyone else, after all, didn't everyone bake?
When my children were teenagers I tried my hand at a few different things. I went to documentation and library studies, all the while bringing cookies and breads for my classmates and reading recipes in my spare time, until one day it dawned on me that perhaps my future didn't lie in a library but in the kitchen. Some research followed which led me to believe that maybe people might be convinced to buy
the handmade, all natural kind of things that I had been working on my whole life I went to pastry school for eighteen months and after gaining thirty pounds, I finally opened a small bakery which we called Ourson de Miel, in Pointe Claire village and put into practice all the knowledge gleaned from a lifetime of learning. I had the bakery for seven years. They were the hardest most worrying time of my life but I loved seeing my dreams realised and with the help of almost all my children, I was able to produce all the good food I had always loved to make.
We were artisanal before artisanal was really in vogue and this idea of food from local suppliers and bread made absolutely fresh each day, was a new concept and we often had to explain why we had run out of bread until tomorrow morning !
Onward to the next step... the online bakery , hope you enjoy the experience as well as all our fresh baked goods !
At the age of about five I can remember being put in charge of watching and waiting for the big bowl of bread dough to rise in front of the hearth in our little house in Manchester, England. I think that was where I learned that a small gesture of a loaf of bread given to an ailing neighbour can bring smiles and goodwill. It was a lesson that I never forgot. My Mum had very little to share but share she did and it left a lasting impression on me.
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