Just Desserts: A Journey from the Classroom into the Culinary Arts

Maria Grgic

At the University of Toronto I undertook a major in German Studies, along with a double minor in French as a Second Language and in Spanish Studies. Although many people were puzzled by my choice of multiple languages, my studies have enabled me to utilize my knowledge of and passion for languages while studying and exploring overseas.

Language learning continues to be an abiding interest, but my true passion happens to lie within the pastry kitchen. Following graduation in Spring 2011, I decided to study European pastry and chocolate arts in Switzerland in the canton of Lucerne, where Swiss German is predominantly spoken. During my travels within the country, I gained an appreciation for the nuances between dialects spoken in various cantons, for their regional histories, and their culinary values and traditions. For example, although eating seasonal and local harvested food is a relatively new vogue in North America, it is integral among the Swiss (and, indeed, most Europeans). I witnessed their enthusiasm for ingredients such as asparagus only available for a short seasonal time frame. I was also able to taste my way through strawberry season and every Konditoreiís ode to the fruit. It is this fervour for ingredients that I hope to impart, wherever my destiny leads me. I recently returned to Toronto, and am gaining further invaluable experience in a wonderful bakery and pastry shop. Iíve developed a fuller appreciation for my time in multilingual and multicultural Switzerland, which would not have been possible without my background in German Studies at the University of Toronto.

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Page updated on November 12, 2012

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