LA Judge Awards Recognise Outstanding Young Talent

LA Judge Awards Recognise Outstanding Young Talent

Five baking apprentices from across australia gathered to endure one of the toughest challenges of their burgeoning careers at the 46th annual La Judge awards.

the prestigious award went to John Reminis from Nowra east, New South Wales. John works as a third year apprentice in his family-business Bakehouse delights, which is owned and operated by his father John and aunty Mary.

John, who recently encouraged his father to add sourdough bread and ciabatta to their range, said he is thankful for the recognition offered by the well-regarded competition.

“It’s a pretty big thing to win and definitely a dream come true,” John said.

training for six months prior to the competition, John visited a local flour mill in Mildura, yeast and bakery ingredients manufacturer aB Mauri and local bakeries to improve his knowledge of industry equipment, supplies and processes.

he also attended toastmasters to improve his public speaking skills.

“a few months ago I couldn’t have stood in front of a crowd, but now I’ve got a bit of confidence I’m able to put into words what I want to achieve,” John said.

as part of his first place prize, John was awarded an overseas study tour to europe to expose him to new products, machinery and techniques.

“I haven’t decided where I want to go yet and I’ll have to sit down and think about it carefully. But there is so much opportunity in europe and so many fourth-generation bakers who have mastered their skills,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to developing my bread-making skills and to get new knowledge of the bread industry. My mum and dad have been really supportive of me so I’m looking forward to brining new ideas and skills to Bakehouse delights.”

the professional value of the study tour was emphasised by 2012 La Judge award winner John Leontiades who delivered a touching speech about the passion, dedication and hard work needed to succeed as a baker.

John will now go on to compete in the national BakeSkills competition in September this year.

day one of the competition, which was hosted by GrainGrowers, called upon candidates to talk about their career ambitions and GrainGrowers bakery consultant Morten Staer said judges were immediately impressed with their positive attitudes.

“there is no doubt the passion for the trade is still alive and well,” he said.

Coming from a diverse range of work backgrounds, the remaining finalists for the 2013 awards were:

• Aidan Hauptli from Childers, Queensland, who works in his family’s bakery and one day hopes to travel to europe to study pastry making;

• Cassie Whitbread from Greenacres, South australia, works at a Coles in-store bakery and prides herself on excellent presentation and organisational skills;

• Christopher Kirkpatrick from Mandurah, Western australia, works for a large family-run bakehouse and has shown great initiative in mentoring younger apprentices as they begin their baking careers; and

• Scott Fitzgerald from Yarra Valley, Victoria, works in a bakery that is attached to a winery and restaurant. the products he helps to create are almost entirely handmade and directed towards the tourist market;

after the initial presentations, the candidates went to GrainGrowers’ pilot bakery to put their practical skill to the test.

“the skill levels displayed in both practical and theory by the contestants was of a high standard considering the early stage of their career,” Morten said.

the practical component of the competition is designed to simulate the time pressure you would experience in a busy bakery. according to Morten, the candidates handled the challenging situation with utmost professionalism.

“they are all fantastic ambassadors for their chosen profession and all winners in my humble opinion,” he said.

GrainGrowers would like to thank the 2013 La Judge Sponsors Lesaffre australia Pacific, CW Pacific, Manildra Group, australian Bakels, Bakers delight, Coles, Novozymes and Puratos.

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