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Rise Up #81: Janice Mansfield, Bakery Manager of Yonni's Doughnuts in Victoria BC, on career changes, systems thinking and gluten free baking

Yonni's Mascot

Design by [Aaron Bergunder](

It’s become apparent that I’m a big fanboy of certain bakers. I mean, I’ve had a chance to interview some of my baking heroes on this podcast, right from Episode 2.

But what if you’re a fanboy of a doughnut? Or more specifically, a cruller?

That’s where I’ve found myself lately, as I wander the streets of downtown Victoria in the afternoon, trying to find a Discovery Coffee that still has some crullers in stock. An afternoon espresso with a cruller is pure adult bliss. Trust me on this.

Before long, I was making the longer hike to the original Discovery Coffee (on Discovery Street, no less) so I could eat my cruller while gazing longingly through the window to the bakery area where Yonni’s Doughnuts are made every morning. It’s a perfect little bakery. Lots of benches, two ovens and big south facing windows to let in the daylight. Lovely!

But there’s a risk, you see, in being a baker and podcast host in love with someone else’s cruller. What if the cruller is awesome but the baker has some terribly character flaw? What if she is (gasp!) private, secretive, or surly?

Thankfully, this is not the case at Yonni’s. Bakery manager Janice Mansfield is open and generous friendly and a great storyteller too. And her bake crew are happy, funny and gorgeous too. Just like you’d expect when the food tastes so delicious.

Janice invited me over to take a look around the bakery at the end of the morning shift, when everything was out to the shops that are popping up all over Victoria and the bake crew was doing their final cleanup before heading home. Then we grabbed a coffee and sat down around the bench, got out the mics and had an incredibly fun conversation.

By taking over the Yonni’s bakeshop, Janice is embarking on her third career, having spent time in government and as a personal chef and caterer. She’s developed a line of tasty gluten free recipes to complement the yummy wheat based products and is constantly tweaking and tuning the systems and processes at the bakery so the crew can deliver more products in less time.

I had a ball getting to know Janice, geeking out about gear and processes and getting a sense of the baking scene in my new city. Great talk all around. Enjoy!