Top Gong: Darcey Height

Baking apprentice Darcey Height finished 2023 on a high note, after taking out the inaugural Bakers Delight Apprentice of the Year award.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a 20-year-old apprentice baker, planning to complete my apprenticeship this year in September, and I love my job!

I moved out to Melbourne from my hometown in South Australia by myself only two years ago. This city has broadened my opportunities in baking, and I’ve learnt so much and grown exponentially since starting my apprenticeship with Hampton Bakers Delight. I also bake cakes, cookies, and pastries in my spare time as a hobby and love trying new recipes.

How did you get started in the baking industry? What drew you to it?

When I was about 14, I started my first job as a dishwasher at Ocean Street Bakehouse in South Australia. Throughout my years there my passion and interest in baking grew, and the owners gave me the opportunity to fit into a baker’s assistant-type role on the weekends, which led to me starting my apprenticeship full-time in 2020. Since then, my love for baking has only grown and I learn something new every time I go to work now at Hampton Bakers Delight.

How did it feel to claim the inaugural Bakers Delight apprentice of the year award?

It felt crazy and amazing! I’m so lucky to have had the support of the team at work throughout the competition and be able to produce some of the best bread with their guidance. Even winning the regional award was crazy to me, so claiming the first national Baker’s Delight apprentice of the year was astounding and I feel so honored.

How was the competition process? Did you have a favourite part?

The competition process was actually really fun! It was my first baking competition, and I really liked the challenge of making the perfect roll, vienna, and loaf of bread, all exactly to the criteria.

My favourite part (besides winning of course) was being able to bake the same products about six months apart and being able to see where my scores had improved. Although my least favourite part was waiting for the results. The study tour, which was the prize for winning baker or apprentice of the year regionally, was also a highlight as I learnt so much about everything that goes toward keeping the bakery going, especially the flour milling and processing.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I love patterns and routines, as well as making myself more efficient and precise in my baking. My favourite subject in school was always math, so the patterns, use of percentages, and measurements just works really well in my head. I also really enjoy making things that make other people happy and the products at Bakers Delight seem to do that for many people.

Where do you see yourself heading in the industry?

I would ideally like to own my own bakery at some point in the future, potentially as a franchisee of Bakers Delight. Before that, I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can from my production manager and the other highly skilled members of the team as I complete my apprenticeship and continue working.

What’s your favourite thing to make?

The mini custard scrolls are so satisfying to make, they look so good lined up on the try with the most perfect swirls. Plus, they taste amazing!

Image: Darcey Height after being named as apprentice of the year.

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