Following the final state competition in Tasmania, the Baking Association of Australia’s (BAA’s) Excellence in Baking Competition culminated in an awards night in October.
The prestigious Official National Apprentice Baker for 2013 award went to Chris Fields from Ben’s Bakehouse and Café in Darwin, while Stephanie Wehrmann from Continental Pâtisserie in Strathfield, New South Wales, took out the Official National Apprentice Pastry Cook for 2013 award.
After the success of this year’s national apprentice competition, BAA executive officer Tony Smith said plans are already in place for 2014.
“For the last eight months the competition has toured every state, as well as the Northern Territory, with apprentice bakers and apprentice pastry cooks competing against their peers with the same criteria,” Tony said.
“We look forward to doing it again.”
The competition was devised by the BAA board in conjunction with staff from several TAFEs after several bakery owners said they could not afford to send apprentices interstate for long periods of time.
With the help of TAFEs and major sponsor EOI, BAA president Stewart Latter said the nationally applicable criteria for bread and pastry apprentices is being improved every year.
“One extra thing we have done this year is use ambassadors to assist with judging. Our ambassadors talk to contestants in each state to encourage them to compete, so we can get more and more young people involved,” Stewart said.
“We are not getting any younger and we need to allow our youth to be part of the process. In New South Wales we had Morgan Clemenston and Skye Masters. In Victoria John Leontiades helped out and has also taken a position on the BAA Council.
“In Tassie, Jenny Benbow – the first Tasmanian LA Judge winner – joined John in assisting at this year’s Tasmanian Baking Show.
“It was a great display of teamwork and passion for moving the national baking and pastry industry forward.”