Bakers Delight have announced the first ever winners of their Baker of the Year and Apprentice of the Year awards.
Mitchell McAleer from Bakers Delight Mernda Town Centre in Victoria was named as Baker of the Year, while Darcy Height from Bakers Delight Hampton in Victoria took out the Apprentice of the Year award.
The duo successfully beat out 200 nominations from around the country to claim the top prizes.
A Bakers Delight spokesperson said given this was the first time the awards had been held, this level of nominations demonstrated a great level of interest.
“This initial list was trimmed to 60 before further assessments allowed us to narrow the field down to the final 12,” they said.
There were three components to the awards program, with competitors initially asked to bake specific products for judging at regional roadshows, before then taking part in an interview that included technical questions.
The final part of the competition was product quality assessment. This followed the same format, with the bakers asked to bake a specific product that this time was judged at regional offices / Bakers Delight.
The winners were announced during a two-day visit to Melbourne that took place in late November, that all the finalists attended.
“This was an educational visit to Melbourne for each of the finalists,” the spokesperson said, adding the trip involved touring Bakers Delight Support Office and meeting some of the senior managers as well as a visit to the first Bakers Delight bakery in Hawthorn.
Day two included a visit to Allied Pinnacle for a tour of both their flour mill and croissant plant before heading to Manildra Group’s mixing plant in Altona.
“Wrapping up the study tour was the final dinner and winner announcement with Bakers Delight Joint CEO David Christie and founders Roger and Lesley Gillespie,” the spokesperson said.
“We are confident these awards will continue to grow over the coming years, and that more and more franchisees will put their talented team members forward for the recognition they deserve.”
Image: Bakers Delight Joint CEO David Christie(left) with founders Roger and Lesley Gillespie in the white shirts, and the inaugural winners Mitchelle McAleer and Darcy Height