Repetition and replication: Key ingredients for competition success
Success is rarely about luck. Those who practice the most tend to have greatest success.
Whether you’re competing locally, nationally, or internationally, the recipe for success is the same: repetition and replication.
The old saying, practice makes perfect is still as pertinent today as it has ever been, but I am going to elaborate a little further on the other equally important aspect of competition preparation, and that is repetition and replication. I hope to also show the incredible amount of organisation and commitment it takes to compete at the international level, and recognise those companies that help make the process possible.
Replication as part of your preparation is critical, it allows for identification of potential obstacles that may arise during a competition timeframe – things that, if not identified and allowed for, can destroy your chance of success in the blink of an eye.
All the things that affect bread and pastry are very similar: time, temperature and equipment. Understand how these things affect your processes and learn to adapt, and control the environment around you. Once you’ve done this you’re well on the way to having a successful campaign.
Temperature is a big issue if competing internationally. During my preparation for the Bakery Masters in 2014 it was very challenging to practice in the Australian summer when competing in the European winter. So in order to give myself the best chance of success I lived and trained in Brussels for six weeks at the Puratos Innovation Centre. This allowed me to replicate the competition environment and hone my recipes and skills.
The Australian Baking Team is preparing for the Louis LeSaffre Cup competition in Jakarta using these exact same principles. Fortunately, the temperatures and humidity will be similar, so we’re looking at the other factors that will affect us. This is where the support of sponsors is critical. This next step is difficult, and when competing internationally, it can be very expensive.
We have been fortunate to have tremendous support from Hunter TAFE and the Hunter Hotel Academy as the teams training facility. This state-of-the-art facility has accommodation attached so the team stays onsite and only walks 50m into the bakery. This has reduced travel time and allows for more practice at each team session.
Vanrooy Equipment in Melbourne has also assisted the team to ensure we have the best equipment to work with, and importantly, to be able to replicate the competition set-up so the strict time frames can be achieved. Eurochef has imported special equipment for the team to exactly replicate equipment and conditions. Lindsay pie making equipment has shown the depth of its manufacturing expertise in creating some very specialised items for our artistic piece.
Unox has given the team its state-of-the-art oven and proofer to again exactly replicate what will be at the competition. Robotcoupe is supporting us by providing a Robotcook stick blender. KitchenAid has the team using and testing its very latest in commercial stand mixers.
Major sponsorship from Manildra Group, Ravifruit and Callebaut – not only for the Australian Baking Team but also for Southern Cross Baking Group – has allowed for this dream to become a reality in the first place.
Ingredient support through France Gourmet, Murrays Brewing, Lesaffre, Fermex Distributors, Beax Desserts and Marralong Milling has contributed to the team being better prepared.
The Australian Baking Team is also very pleased to have the support of both industry associations, the National Baking Industry Association and the Baking Association of Australia. Working together we all achieve more.
I ask everyone to recognise these companies, support them back, purchase from them where you can. These are the companies that create opportunities for others to succeed. You may find yourself, someone you employ, or someone you know on an Australian baking team in the future, so support now. Without these valued sponsors, opportunities like the Australian Baking Team simply will not be there.
Train hard, replicate your known competition conditions and be prepared for anything!