Slave Lake nurse pursuing her love of baking

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Silvia Chisholm is pursuing her joy of cooking with a home-based business in Slave Lake.

Silvia has lived in Slave Lake since 2014 with her husband, who works in forestry. She’s a full-time nurse at the Slave Lake hospital, but has loved baking since she was a child.

Silvia first came to Canada to pick fruit and raise enough money to go to culinary school. This didn’t happen. Instead, she ended up as a live-in caregiver in Calgary. She met her husband and went with him to Fredericton, NB for him to finish a bachelors and then a masters in forestry. He got a job at a Slave Lake mill in 2014.

While in Slave Lake, Silvia went to Northern Lakes College and became a licensed practical nurse. However, her love of baking never died.

In November 2021, she started Mockingbird Pastries.

Asked about the name, Silvia says, “I wanted something that would be related to Mexico. My grandmother loved mockingbirds.”

She decided against the Spanish name for the bird, cenzontle, because she figured people would have trouble remembering it and pronouncing it.

Silvia’s father died in October 2021.

She says, “I felt like I needed something to make me happy and to honour him because he really loved sweet bread … It was a great therapy.”

Some of her high school friends from back home also encouraged her to start selling her baking.

“I started with Mexican sweet bread, because everyone who was Latin in the community was missing that little taste of home,” says Silvia.

Since then, Silvia has expanded into babka (a Russian Jewish bread with chocolate), biscotti, brioche, sourdough, North American-style bread, and marshmallows.

“The big hit has been the marshmallows, which is crazy that it became such a hit,” she says.

Silvia sells most of her baking online. In December 2022, she held a ‘pop-up’ shop in Creative Goods Co. in downtown Slave Lake.

“It was very good,” she says. “It was a dream to be at her store.”

In the future, Silvia would like to make baking her full-time job. But as it stands now, she enjoys both her work as a nurse and her side-hustle as a baker.

Mockingbird Pastries is on Facebook and Instagram.

Silvia Chisholm in her Slave Lake kitchen, where she does all the baking for her home-based business Mockingbird Pastries.

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