A simple Google search for artisan bread makers started a journey that brought a professional chef from New Brunswick, Canada, to Camden.

Patricia Ouellet was looking for a short apprenticeship to get some pointers on making artisan bread so she could add it to the list of things sold at her farmstand back home.

“I did a Google search for someone that was good at making artisan bread,” said Ouellet. “I found two in the state of Maine and chose Fresh [Bakery] here in Camden because I felt it was the best.”

Ouellet added after several emails “harassing” Fresh baker Barbara Alpern, she agreed to teach Ouellet. She came to Maine during the week of April 29.

“I feel I chose one of the best,” said Ouellet about her mentor. “She has been very pleasant to work with and she is just amazing. I have learned so much in a short period of time.”

After owning and running a dairy farm with her husband for three decades, Ouellet said she decided to return to school and become a professional chef. She attended College communautaire du Noveau Brunswick — also known as New Brunswick Community College — and used her degree to open a catering business and farmstand.

Her farm — Le Ferme Maurifils — has 20,000 maple trees that are tapped to make maple products, more than 15 acres of vegetable gardens and 65 goats for meat, all of which are sold at the farm.

Ouellet said she felt something was missing and liked the idea of learning how to commercially bake bread. So she made the trek to Maine and began a week-long tutorial in the art of artisan bread making.

“Patricia has been great to have around, she picks things up so easy,” said Alpern. ”This has been a really good experience for both of us and I’m going to hate to see her leave.”

Ouellet added Alpern was a wonderful teacher and said she would like to start an internship program with Fresh in the future.

“This would be a great place for students just coming from college to have the hands-on learning of baking. Barbara is such a professional and I feel that they would learn a great deal,” Ouellet said.

Camden Herald reporter Dwight Collins can be reached at 236-8511 or dcollins@courierpublicationsllc.com.