Employee Spotlight: Meet Jennifer Binns, Pastry Chef and Operations Manager
Imagine your day was filled with baking decadent cookies and crafting new desserts instead of Zoom calls? Working at a bakery is a career that many only dream about as kids. For our Pastry Chef Jenn, it’s her reality.
So what does it actually mean to hold this position for a busy Toronto bakery? We caught up with Jenn to find out how she got here and what inspires her every day.
How long have you worked at Sweet Flour?
I was the first head baker hired at Sweet Flour and am still here baking 13 years later. Obviously my role has evolved as the company grew; today I’m our Pastry Chef and Operations Manager but I still love the days when I get to be in the kitchen, baking and creating.
Wow, that’s a long time! What did you do before Sweet Flour?
An entrepreneur at heart, I started a bakery business in highschool. I sold cakes to my family, their friends, my friends. It was wonderful. I also worked for a small family bakery business in Barrie and learned as much as I could. I started as a cake decorator and loved the work so much that I started coming in on my time off to learn how to bake bread and pastries.
While working in Barrie, I was also working on getting my Red Seal Certification through George Brown’s apprenticeship program. I moved on to work at Sen5es (my favourite bakery in Toronto at the time) which had a huge impact on my foundation as a pastry chef. We focused on beautiful desserts made from scratch with high-quality ingredients.
From there I explored quite a few different places before landing at Sweet Flour - a restaurant in Edmonton, a resort in Muskoka, Langdon Hall in Cambridge, the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto. Each experience was utterly unique and honed not only my skillsets but my commitment and desire to become a great Pastry Chef.
So,working in a bakery and designing desserts - you really loved it from day one. What makes Sweet Flour unique?
There is a true focus on growth and evolution. We started as a retail shop in Bloor West Village creating two minute custom cookies and now we are an industrial kitchen focusing on online gifting. The growth has been monumental – not only in the evolution of our products but also in logistics management and shipping. With the growth of delivery and food ordering apps we’ve had to understand how our product ships and that it arrives at the clients house as beautiful as it was when it left our kitchen. I love that mix of creativity and business.
Some closing thoughts. What keeps you on your toes and excited to head into the kitchen everyday?
There is a true creative element to the job in products and logistics and team growth. Having been here from day one, I love the growth potential both in employees and in scaling up the business. We’re also laser focused on our product and our brand. We aren’t chasing the trends because it may go viral… we’re developing and focused on good products that people enjoy. We focus on quality over profits and I value that immensely.
It also may sound obvious, but baking inspires me every single day. I love what I do, and love that every day is different.
Learn how Sweet Flour’s CEO manages balance at home and with her team