Last week, the Bake Skills Pastry Competition for 2023 wrapped up at Fine Food Australia in Sydney after two intense days of competing and preparing an array of cakes and patisserie items in the lead up to today’s announcement of the winner.
This year’s pastry finalists were:
- Katie Tonkin—Flora Hill Bakehouse, Bendigo, Vic
- Alison Wright—Sweet by Nature, Heidelberg, Vic
- Andrew Shaw—Bakers Delight, Robina, Qld
- Olivia Saliba—Harbourfront, Wollongong, NSW
- Carla Penza—Gumnut Patisserie, Mittagong, NSW
Carla Penza from Gumnut Patisserie in New South Wales took out the top gong, claiming the title of Australia’s Best Pastry Apprentice 2023. Carla was excited to hear she’d won the big title, as were her family and all of the staff from Gumnut Patisserie, who turned out to support her.
“[It felt] pretty amazing. Like, all your hard work’s paid off,” she said.
“A lot of hours of endless training. A lot of my time with my family got sacrificed, but it all went into a good cause. I feel like I’ve learnt so much over the last few weeks.”
The second-place title was taken out by Olivia Saliba from Harbourfront in New South Wales.
“I was nervous yesterday! But today I was pretty chilled, it was pretty good. When I found out, I was overwhelmed,” she said.
Olivia had the second bonus of taking out the Bake Skills Australia Apprentice Pie Award from The Official Great Aussie Pie Competition, the full results of which will be announced this Thursday at Fine Food.
With the baking leg of Bake Skills set to kick off tomorrow (winners announced on Thursday), we wish everyone competing the best of luck!
Image: (L to R) Katie Tonkin, Andrew Shaw, Olivia Saliba, Carla Penza, and Alison Wright