Gladstone baker Lydia Evans has proven the best muffins can be found on the mid-north coast of Queensland.
Declared the 2014 winner of the annual Muffin Break Ultimate Bake-Off competition, Lydia out-baked competitors from across Australia and New Zealand to make it to the competition grand final event, held September in Sydney.
The win is particularly sweet for the 28-year-old, who narrowly missed out on taking the top spot title last year.
Lydia said she dedicated a great deal of time and effort into preparing for this year’s competition and was “simply ecstatic” with her victory.
“It just goes to show hard work really does pay off. I take my hat off to the other grand finalists who each made this a close competition,” she said.
“Coming so close to taking the title last year made me all the more determined this year. I truly love my job and I think my passion for baking gave me the edge I needed. I am so happy I can call myself the ultimate baker.”
With almost 10 years of experience as a professional baker, Lydia’s attitude and competent skill-set thoroughly impressed the competition judging panel.
Each of the six grand finalists had their baking knowledge, general trade skills, originality and compliance to Muffin Break’s standards of food-safety and product quality assessed.
The finalists had to produce a sweet or savoury signature baked product, as well as prepare and bake a batch of traditional muffins in less than an hour. They were also tested in a “who am I?” competition using only their sense of taste to identify the ingredients of a mystery product.
Their creative skills were then put to the test in a cake decorating challenge where finalists had to turn a simple vanilla sponge cake into a sponge-spectacular.
As well as the glory of holding the Ultimate Baker title, Lydia won a Kitchenaid Mixmaster valued at more than $500 and a $1000 Visa Gift Card.