Learn from the best! The college is staffed with a team of highly skilled industry professionals who all share a passion for excellence in confectionary education.

Our instructors ( in alphabetical order):

Marisa Blackburn

Marisa was trained as a chef at the Fanshawe College Culinary Management program in London, Ontario, and obtained her Red Seal Certificate while working as an apprentice at Vineland Estates Winery. Her success as a chef eventually lead Marisa to the world of pastry and cake design, where she was drawn to the impressive works of cake art and wedding cake design. The amazing cake creations and impressive industry reputation led Marisa to Bonnie Gordon College, where she was privileged to land an intern position with Bonnie in the Designer Cakes Certificate Programme. Her work at BGC has allowed her to gain the confidence and skills to launch MarissKiss Creative Cakes, in addition to working as an instructor.

Marisa later added to her repetoire by studying Chocolate Expertise with master pastry chef and chocolatier, Derrick Tu Tan Pho at Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy.

Andy Burnside

Andy Burnside’s passion is helping people. “This is what ultimately attracted me to the Insurance and Financial Services industry, I saw a unique way to help people.” After working for a few years with his Father’s State Farm Agency – Bryan Burnside Insurance Agency Ltd., Andy and State Farm agreed to open a new Agency under Andy’s name. Now nearing his 5th business anniversary, Andy is amazed at how quickly time has passed “time flies when you’re having fun” he says as he points to a mound of paperwork on his desk. “Seriously though, I can’t believe 5 years has gone by”. “I am grateful for how the business has grown in this time and for the amazing relationships I get to have with my customers”.

When he’s not driving around in his red State Farm car with his name on it, he’s talking to customers about planning for the future. “I love talking to people about their financial future as I have seen so many people helped by our life insurance and investment products – seeing people with the resources to help themselves puts a smile on my face!” Sometimes that red car drives to Hamilton Chamber of Commerce meetings where Andy is part of a sub-committee of the Chamber called YEP! Hamilton. This committee made up on young entrepreneurs and professionals, takes on unique projects to revitalize the Hamilton downtown core.

Andy graduated from the University of Western Ontario, with a B.A. in Kinesiology and a minor in French. Andy lives a ‘stone’s throw’ from his office with his spouse Lee and their 5 year old daughter Sydney. Andy hopes that one day Sydney will become the 3rd generation of State Farm Agent in the Burnside family!

Nadia Colella

Designer, Nadia & Co.

Nadia Colella began her artistic journey at a young age, always knowing Art and Pastry were her two passions. In 2005, she started her own pastry business and her hopes for what this medium could do surpassed her expectations. After just taking a few classes with Bonnie, she became an intern during Bonnie’s last wedding cake season. She also organized and taught a summer camp program for kids back in 2008.

Nadia was led to the Ontario College of Art and Design, where she completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a specialization in Drawing and Painting. Through study and practice of different mediums, she was able to explore a world without limitations and knew she did not have to settle she could please the eye while pleasing the palette too!

In 2011, Nadia completed the “L’Art de la Patisserie” program at the French Pastry School in Chicago, mastering French Pastry Techniques. She now merges her passion for fine art and material with her love for sweet confections. Nadia’s goal is to allure her audience and be an inspiration to her students while teaching them the rich history of art and possibilities in cake design.

Amanda DeMarco

Amanda attended one of the only high schools in Ontario that taught sugarwork and graduated from the baking program with honours. She began as an apprentice for renowned pastry chef Norbert Maushagen straight out of high school and has received top graduate in the Baking Program at George Brown College. She now teaches full time at the college and creates custom wedding cakes for private clients.

Emily Heck

Emily has always been inspired by everything sweet! So it was no surprise to those who know her that she made her way into the cake and pastry field. Completing her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toronto followed by her Bachelors of Education at OISE, Emily longed to express her creativity through a more edible medium! Working for many years in a small family run bakery she honed her skills, finally deciding to pursue more formal training in the field. Emily attended the Confectionary Arts Diploma Programme at Bonnie Gordon College and graduated at the top of her class. Upon graduation, she stayed on at the college working as a Teaching Assistant in the Designer Cakes Programme, while also interning at Nadia & Co. She was then fortunate enough to couple her love of education with her passion for cake decorating by becoming the Education Coordinator and later a Design Instructor at BGC. Emily also co-owns her own specialty cake business (Julie Emm Cakes) with fellow instructor Julie Montgomery.

Jenny Maw

Jenny has always enjoyed baking for family and friends. She started taking a cake decorating course at Michaels in 1998 which resulted in her wanting to learn more. She attended George Brown College and received her Cake Decorating Certificate at the completion of her course. She found her niche making sugar paste flowers. Initially self taught in sugar paste flowers, Jenny honed her skills through a variety of classes and workshops, including a workshop with UK’s renowned sugar artist, Alan Dunn and sugar flower maestro Ron Ben Israel. She has won top placement at sugar art competitions and can boast nine different first and second place awards since 2000. She is proud to add one more placement since winning 1st place at the 2012 CSSA Competition in the Cattleya Sugar Paste Flower Corsage category.

Julie Montgomery

Julie Montgomery has been working in the pastry arts for almost 20 years! After graduating culinary school with honours, she began her career in an artisanal pastry and chocolate shop, where she stayed for 2 years, then on to a pastry position at the Hotel Intercontinental in Yorkville. From there, Julie did a 4 year turn as a pastry chef at the Corner House Restaurant and another 4 years as pastry chef of a top Toronto catering company. For the next 6 years after that, Julie worked for Mark McEwan (host of Top Chef Canada), where she became executive pastry chef of two of his restaurants, North 44 and Bymark.

In 2009, Julie decided to take her pastry career in an exciting new direction, and enrolled in the Designer Cakes Certificate Program at Bonnie Gordon College. It was there that she fell in love with the art of cake design and has never looked back! Julie now teaches full time at BGC, and is the Senior Manager of Programmes and Development. She also co-owns a small cake business with fellow instructor Emily Heck, called Julie Emm Cakes.

Diana Shin

Cake Designer, Shindig Sweets

It can be said that Diana started her career as a young girl with her Easy-Bake oven. She sold recipes on the neighborhood corner while other kids sold lemonade.

Diana’s creative background stretches over a diverse range of work experiences. Diana is a trained photographer, receiving a Bachelor of Applied Arts at Ryerson Polytechnic University.

She spent the following three years between Toronto and Los Angeles and then to Seoul. Upon returning home to Toronto, she began working as a professional photographer which then led to producing for print and television. Adding yet another job title to her repertoire, she then began working as an Event Planner. Diana began presenting the seminars at the college about how Cake Designers work with Wedding Planners.

In 2006, Diana started Shindig Sweets, offering cupcakes and cakes. It was in the earliest days of the start of what is now the Bonnie Gordon College, that Diana began taking classes with Bonnie and discovered her love for cake decorating. In 2008, Diana became a partner at Papillon Cakes, which she co-owned and operated until 2011. Diana then took a short hiatus from the cake industry to stretch her creative and organizational skills at a busy advertising agency.

Now, coming back to the college and doing cakes again with the re-launch of Shindig Sweets, Diana is back to doing what she loves the most.

Micheal J. Smith

Michael began baking from a young age and towards the end of high school switched his focus from architecture to pastry and decided to enroll at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa. After graduating, Michael worked at a renowned Italian pastry shop in Ottawa before moving to Toronto where he worked as a pastry chef at Summerhill Market. During his spare time he loves to experiment with artisan whole-grain sourdough breads and confectionary, as well as learning about food science.

Susan Trianos

Cake Designer, Susan Trianos Custom Cakes

With a number of awards and television appearances, Master Sugar Artist Susan Trianos has been in the industry for over 25 years. She has owned and operated a renowned full scale bakery and cake shop, and worked in the test kitchen for one of the worlds largest food companies. Susan has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cake design, as well as the business side of things that surrounds it.

  • 1st place
    Cake Walk – A Wedding Cake Edition
  • 2nd place
    Sugar Dome – The World of Dr. Suess
  • 1st place
    New York Cake Convention – Winter Wonderland Wedding Cakes – masters division
  • 2nd place
    New York Cake Convention – Figurines – masters division
  • 3rd place
    New York Cake Convention – Cupcakes vs. Cakes – masters division
  • 1st place
    C.S.S.A. Sugar Arts Competition – Gift Box Wedding Cakes – professional division
  • 2nd place
    Canadian National Wedding Cake Competition (at the Baker’s Showcase) – professional division

Camille Williams

Camille Williams of Simplified Financials acquired her BA in Toronto, and has been a Certified General Accountant (CGA) since 1998. Her business management and accounting experience range from public accounting to private enterprise, and from small owner managed businesses to multi-million dollar corporations.

She realized a common challenge that face many entrepreneurs and even long-time small business owners: They do what they do best, but a lot of business owners do not have the time or the ability to manage their financials efficiently in order to make effective management decisions. Furthermore, most are not aware of the many reporting requirements for government compliance.

This information gap created the passion for Camille to establish her own consulting and accounting business with the main focus of educating and empowering entrepreneurs and small business owners.