Apprentice Bakers Battle
After a grueling three days creating magnificent ocean-themed displays from bread, yeast goods, cakes, pastries and desserts, Megan Bowditch and Recco O’Connor of Team South Australia slipped on the coveted green jackets on day four, taking out the champion title for 2016.
Day one was focused on bread and yeast goods, which saw the Apprentice Bakers Battle use a combination of rye sourdough, pretzels, baguettes, croissants, sourdough, brioche and bread modelling dough to create sea-themed items such as anchors, seaweed and rocks. Brendan Woodward impressed the judges and took out the Bake Skills LeSaffre Bread & Yeast Goods Trophy on the day, which he also won last year.
Things got fiddly on cake, pastry and dessert day on day two, where teams made delicate pastries with dolphin shapes, extravagant éclairs and even pastry squids. Team Queensland made a jaw-dropping two-tier cake with coral supporting the tiers, which had passers-by stunned as to how it stayed upright. Team South Australia blew everyone away with a technical and flawless lighthouse, with Megan Bowditch taking out the Bake Skills EOI Cake & Pastry Trophy.
Team New South Wales very carefully peeled their Northern Star Cheesecake from its casing to reveal an intricate compass design imprinted on the surface, but it was their seafood pie that impressed judges the most, granting them the Official Great Aussie Gourmet Pie Team Award.
Day three perhaps had the Apprentice Bakers Battle the most on-edge when they constructed their major creations. Team Queensland drew a crowd with their impressive croquembouche tower, and Team South Australia stunned with their elegant white chocolate biscuit statue.
On day four, the young guns put their collections together with backdrops and non-edible decorations, creating detailed displays. Awards were announced with a special mention to the sponsors.
Bake Skills organiser Craig Perry said without them, the Bake Skills Australia competition would not exist.
“We thank them not only for their financial support and the provision of products, services, and equipment, but also for the opportunities this event provides our young bakers and pastry chefs,” he said.
“In terms of training, skills development, elevated profile, and for the overseas travel and development incentives, this is not available elsewhere.”
For taking out the champion title, Megan and Recco of Team South Australia won a trip to Paris and Lille in 2017 including airfares, five nights accommodation, a day at the LeSaffre Baking Academy in Lille and a cheque for $500 each to use towards incidental trip expenses.
The runners up, Brendon and Savanna of Team Queensland, won return airfares to Melbourne, attendance and lunch at the ASB national conference and a ticket each to the Chairman’s Dinner and Awards for Excellence event.
For winning the Official Great Aussie Gourmet Pie Team Award, Rafaele and Troy of Team New South Wales won a team cheque of $250.