After high school, Amelia Laplante didn’t know she wanted to be a food scientist
She actually wanted to start her own bakery.
The first step was to enroll in the Canadian Food and Wine Institute’s Culinary Innovation program to learn everything there was to know about bakery operations. This eventually led her to the Culinary Management program at Niagara College where she graduated in the spring of 2015.
Laplante loved Niagara College and the knowledge she was gaining in the culinary arts. She found that the chef instructors went above and beyond for you to reach your goals, and there were many volunteer opportunities to do with classmates in the college.
“However, I quickly found out that working in food establishments like kitchens or bakeries [was], not my passion,” La Plante says. “I was unsure what the answer was to my career dilemma because I knew I wanted a career working with food, but I also wanted a stable work schedule in a professional, business-oriented environment.”
It was then that Laplante re-defined her dream.
From baker to food scientist
Instead of seeing the shelves of a bakery lined with cupcakes, she wanted to see supermarket shelves lined with a commercial product she had invented.
A couple of years later, Laplante is now living out her dream at Yoso as an R&D Food Scientist.
Yoso is a manufacturer of delicious dairy-free yogurts. The company was founded by two brothers, Erik Lo and Francis Lo, who arrived in Canada from Hong Kong in the 1980s for their secondary school and university studies. Instead of returning home, they were encouraged and supported by their father to launch Yoso, to recognize their heritage and honour the innovative entrepreneurial spirit of their grandfather– a visionary who commercialized soymilk successfully in Hong Kong in 1940.
As an R&D Food Scientist, Laplante works on existing product formulas and makes them better. Yoso believes in a continuous improvement philosophy and today has expanded its product offerings to include bars, smoothies and even cashew spreads.
“Yes, it’s a really fun role,” says LaPlante. “It’s different every day, always something new, and it’s a really fun, creative environment that we have at work. It’s been a great space so far.”
Food brings people together
When guests of the FoodGrads Podcast are asked what the best part about working in the food and beverage industry is, one of the most common answers is the people.
“I think the food industry is a really exciting community,” says Laplante. “It’s changing all the time. I’ve found that no matter if it’s been like restaurants, bakeries, manufacturing, small businesses, or large businesses, the people there are excited and passionate about what they’re doing. And they want to put forward things that they’re proud of.”
Want to learn more about Laplante’s story and her advice to help students propel their careers forward? Then check out the full story on episode 10 of the FoodGrads Podcast! Listen to the full episode below or wherever you get your podcasts!
The FoodGrads Podcast has over 50 episodes where host Veronica Hislop interviews insights from professionals at all stages in their careers.
From Food Scientists to Farmers, Chefs to the Plant, QA Technicians to Dietitians, R&D to Sales, no matter what your passion–there’s something for everyone in food.
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