Michael Ranaudo is a 2019 graduate of Niagara College’s Culinary Innovation and Food Technology program. He worked as a research assistant for the Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre during two separate time periods: January 2017 to April 2018, and again from January 2019 until April 2019. Michael is currently employed as a technical advisor with Puratos and is heading to work at the company’s location in Chilliwack, B.C. at the end of the year.
Tell us about where you work:
Puratos is a leading bakery, patisserie, and chocolate company. Our products help those who are looking to improve flavour, texture, consistency, and shelf-life. Puratos is in 100 countries with more than 9,000 employees. I will be moving to Chilliwack, B.C. at the end of December.
Describe your role and what you like about it:
As a technical advisor, I am responsible for delighting customers and achieving the highest standard in baking excellence. Our role is to help develop, grow, and implement new ideas into the market using our baking expertise. We can be assisting in any capacity, from small “mom & pop” shops to large industrial bakeries making 100,000 buns a day.
How has your experience with Research & Innovation helped prepare you for your current role?
My time at R&I has enabled me to succeed in my new position at Puratos. Having the experience of working on real-world projects with deadlines, meetings and goals, has given me the tools I need now in the workforce.
A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?
The sugar-free gummy bear project was a very memorable project for several reasons. The main reason being that it put me outside of my comfort zone of knowledge. Jumping into a project with no prior background experience enabled me to learn new things and allowed me to challenge myself.
What led you to Niagara College in the first place?
Niagara College was close to my home where I grew up and the Niagara region has a growing food scene that I wanted to be in. The College also had the exact program I was looking for – combining my love for science and food.
Most memorable experience at NC?
There were so many memorable experiences at Niagara College, but if I had to choose, it would be my co-op opportunity in Belgium. With the assistance of Amy Proulx, PhD, [professor, Culinary Innovation and Food Technology Program] I was able to spend six months in Belgium with my now current employer, Puratos.
“Having the experience of working on real-world projects with deadlines,
meetings and goals has given me the tools I need now, in the workforce.”
Is there a particular mentor at either R&I or a faculty member who influenced you?
I would have to say both Dr. Amy Proulx and Sabi Bamrah [professor, Culinary Innovation and Food Technology Program] influenced me during my time at Niagara College. Both professors are so focused on your success and go above and beyond to help you reach your goals. Both these individuals made my experience more memorable at Niagara College.
What advice would you impart to current research students or future alumni?
If there could be any advice I could give to students it would be to always work hard and connect with as many people as you can. There are so many resources at Niagara College for students who wish to achieve more and take advantage of everything. The food world is very small and the people you meet at school and at R&I could be your future colleagues or customers.
After being in the workforce, what have you learned?
The workforce has taught me a lot about myself and what goals I want for the future. The world is ripe with opportunity and for those who work hard, anything is possible.
Proudest achievement since graduating?
I would say my proudest achievement would be getting the opportunity to move to British Columbia and help develop business in Western Canada.
Interests outside of work?
Baking. I spend most of my waking hours thinking of baking, bread and grain. However, I do love to garden and get outside in the dirt to grow vegetables.
If you could have a billboard message seen by many, what would it say?
“But” is an argument for our limitations and when we argue for our limitations, we get to keep them.