Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island logo and bread

Martin Barnett, Program Chair & Baking InstructorPhoto of Martin Barnett

Martin Barnett was educated in England and came to Canada in 1977. He enjoyed a 20-year-career with his own Rising Star Wholefoods Bakeries in Victoria, which he ran with his family. Following that, there was a 3 year engagement in the pastry shop at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, after which he came to Nanaimo to head the Professional Baking Program at Vancouver Island University. Martin has enjoyed a colourful and passionate career in the trade; he is a Red Seal Baker and a Certified Bakery Specialist. He is involved in the British Columbia Chapter of the Baking Association of Canada, and currently sits on the National Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Bread Bakers Guild of America. Martin is a fierce defender of traditional baking and methods, and enjoys pushing his students to maximize their potential. He has travelled extensively in Europe and Australia and enjoys the connections he has made with Artisan Bakers world-wide.

Phone: (250) 740-6114, Local 6114


Rita Gower, Baking Instructor

Rita apprenticed under Culinary Olympics luminary Fred Zimmerman at the Westin Calgary, completed the Red Seal Culinary Apprenticeship Program at SAIT, is a PVI Culinary Program graduate and a Red Seal Baker, and she has her BC Instructor’s Diploma from VCC. She has been a baking and culinary instructor at VIU since 2004. Rita has worked as a Pastry Commis in London, England, and at the Meridien Hotel in Vancouver, and as a Pastry Chef at the Sooke Harbour House in Sooke, BC, and April Point Lodge on Quadra Island, BC. She has also been the owner/operator of her own successful baking businesses. Rita finds teaching a very rewarding career and particularly enjoys contributing to and witnessing her students’ successes.



Ken Harper, Baking Instructor

Chef Harper has been Executive Pastry Chef at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, and has worked at the Pan Pacific in Vancouver, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Resort and Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. He has been a gold and silver medalist in international culinary competitions as an individual, including winning Best Overall Individual Pastry Entry at the Luxembourg Culinary World Cup. He has won awards as a member of Culinary Team Alberta, winning gold at the Culinary Olympics in Germany, and as part of Team Canada, becoming World Champions at the Culinary Grand Prix in Glasgow. He has a passion for ice carving, and goes to several different competitions each winter. He also contributes in many local food events, bringing students to participate in events like the Feast of Fields, Bite of Nanaimo, and the Chefs Survival Challenge.

Phone: (250) 740-6442, Local 6442


David Nolan, Baking Instructor

Pastry Chef David Nolan is a Red Seal Baker and Red Seal Cook with over twenty years’ experience, and has made several appearances as a guest chef on television shows. He began his culinary career at the age of 14 washing dishes in a small family run restaurant in Brantford, Ontario. After graduating from the Niagara Culinary Institute, he joined Fairmont Hotels and worked in the Canadian Rockies as well as Victoria, BC, at the Empress Hotel. While working at the Empress, Chef Nolan taught pastry instruction under Chef Harper at VIU. Chef Nolan then joined Ritz-Carlton Hotels and worked as the Executive Pastry Chef in Montego Bay, Jamaica; Mclean, Virginia (Washington DC); and beautiful Lake Oconee in the State of Georgia. He returned to Canada in October of 2011 to work as Pastry Chef Instructor at VIU, where he enjoys helping students succeed in the field he is so passionate about.

Phone: (250) 740-6140, Local 6140


Rosemarie-Payne, Baking Instructor

As a second generation baker, Rosemarie grew up with a love of the industry. An alumni of Vancouver Community College, she completed her Red Seal in Baking and Pastry Arts in 1992, and then went on to complete her Certified Bakery Specialist in 1994, and was the first women in Canada to complete this program. With 28 years’ experience in the Commercial Baking Industry, she has worked for some of the Island’s top Retail Supermarkets. She has a love of artisan breads and pastries and a passion for cake decorating and wedding cakes. A love of coaching and mentoring students in both the Art and the Science of baking completes her day.

Need more information?

Request Information

Want to talk to someone about specific questions?

Contact a Representative

Ready to join us at VIU?

Apply Online