01/22/2013 05:20 EST | Updated 03/24/2013 05:12 EDT

Top culinary names in Canada seek food artisans to participate in new program

TORONTO - A new program is being launched to help 20 up-and-coming culinary artisans increase their business.

In the program, dubbed the "Artisan Incubator," 10 luminaries from the Canadian food industry will share information and guidance to help artisans create hand-crafted, natural and authentic items.

ACE Bakery, one of the 10 "tastemakers" for the program, began baking artisan breads at a small bakery cafe in 1993. The breads are now available across Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Canadian artisans have until Feb. 15 to apply for the program by submitting a profile at

The 20 artisans will be announced the week of March 18 and the incubator will run June 20-22 in Toronto.

Participants will attend a seminar about developing an artisan business, including branding, marketing and business planning. Each artisan will also host public workshops and have the chance to be one of two artisans selected for further business development.

The nine other tastemakers are:

— Anita Stewart, Canadian culinary activist, author and University of Guelph Food Laureate, Guelph, Ont.

— Pete Luckett, gourmet food store and Luckett Vineyards owner in Halifax.

— Chef Anne Desjardins, executive chef, co-founder and co-owner of Hotel-Restaurant-Spa L’eau a la Bouche in Ste Adele, Que.

— Chef Lynn Crawford, host of Food Network Canada’s "Pitchin’ In" and owner of Ruby Watchco in Toronto.

— Chef Lora Kirk, executive chef at Ruby Watchco in Toronto.

— Chef Connie DeSousa, finalist on Food Network’s "Top Chef Canada" and chef and co-owner of Charcut Roast House in Calgary.

— Chef John Jackson, chef and co-owner of Charcut Roast House in Calgary.

— Robert McCullough, publisher of Random House’s recently created lifestyle imprint Appetite in Vancouver.

— Michele Genest, writer of The Boreal Chef cooking column for Yukon, North of Ordinary Magazine, in Whitehorse.