Queensland took out the title of Baking Apprentice of the Year for the second year running, this time thanks to Toowoomba baker Amie Stewart.
Amie, from Westbrook on the Rise Bakery in Toowoomba, fended off strong competition to win the coveted 2018 LA Judge Award, hosted by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC).
Amie was crowned the winner at a gala ceremony in Sydney in May with over 200 industry guests watching on.
The judges were impressed with Amie’s baking skills, level of organisation, knowledge and confidence; she presented as a well-rounded baker, set to become a future industry leader.
Amie decided she wanted to become a baker in 2012, after working at a small bakery as a shop assistant and falling in love with the trade.
“The thing that motivates me to be a baker is the constant learning opportunities that come with it,” she said.
“I love learning and playing around with artisan breads and experimenting with different flavour profiles.
“The best thing about being a baker is you become a lifelong learner and you are a part of a wider community full of support and guidance,” she said.
LA Judge Award Director Dr Ken Quail said the five candidates from around Australia and New Zealand were all very promising young bakers.
“Simply competing in the LA Judge Award is a victory in itself, and all five of this year’s bakers should be very proud of themselves,” he said.
“Congratulations to all the candidates, especially this year’s winner Amie. Amie has shown herself to be a very mature and skilled baker and I’m sure there are big things ahead for her.”
As part of her prize, Amie received a five-day all-expenses-paid trip to Belgium to visit the headquarters of eminent baking and ingredients company Puratos. There, Amie will have the opportunity to take part in bakery demonstrations, tour Puratos’ famed sourdough library and visit its various museums and facilities.
Runner-up Jacob Saunders from New Zealand was awarded a two-day workshop in the Puratos Hong Kong baking centre. Jacob was highly competitive and performed well across the different components of the competition.
Dr Quail said the LA Judge Award relied on the support of industry sponsors. “The support from the sponsors this year was fantastic and we encourage the baking industry to get behind these companies as they are investing in the future of our industry.”
The win edges Queensland (12 wins) closer to NSW (14 wins) on the all-time leader board.
The LA Judge Award has been running since 1967 and is open to young apprentice bakers under 23 who are keen to make their mark on the baking industry. The competition takes place over three days and includes all aspects of baking, including practical baking skills, technical knowledge and presentation abilities.