Top Gong: Ganesh Iyer

With more than 12 years’ experience behind him, Riviera Bakery’s head baker Ganesh Iyer’s career is going from strength to strength. The South Australian baker recently added an ABINSA win to his collection after walking away with the Arther E Denison Trophy as well as being named the Regional Winner after representing both SA and WA.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a certified Master Pastry Chef CMPC from Worlds Association of Chefs Societies (WACS).

I have more than 12 years’ experience in international hotels, restaurants, events, and franchise operations. I’m also a member of the Australian Culinary Federation, SA Chapter, Chaine Des Rotissieur , Bailliage au Australie as Maître Rotissieur and Emirates Culinary Guilds, UAE.

As a seasoned pastry chef my culinary journey has taken me around the globe, with roles in renowned international hotel brands including Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, Dubai; Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi; Sofitel Wentworth Sydney; Fairmont Resort, Blue Mountains; and Intercontinental Adelaide.

Currently, I lead a dedicated team at Riviera Bakery in Adelaide, where I serve as the Production Manager.

How did you get started in baking?

My journey in baking commenced through a familial connection to the craft, fostering my love for the art of creating delightful pastries and desserts.

In my pursuit of mastering the art of baking, I embraced a role as a pastry chef with a deep-seated eagerness to learn. Driven by a fervent desire to be an all-rounder in the culinary domain, I channelled this enthusiasm into honing my skills and crafting a diverse range of delectable treats.

 Can you tell us a little bit about your ABINSA win? And about what you’re looking forward to at Europain next year?
My Australian Baking Industry National Scholarship Award (ABINSA) win was a significant milestone in my baking journey, representing not only personal achievement but also the recognition of my dedication to the craft. It was a moment of validation for the hard work and passion invested in my work as a pastry chef.

The trip to Europain presents an incredible opportunity to further develop my skills and make invaluable connections.

My long-term goal is to open my own bakery business in the next few years.

Looking ahead to Europain next year, I am excited about the prospect of engaging with industry leaders, discovering emerging trends, and networking with fellow enthusiasts. I’m also honored to be giving a master class at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris.

What were your biggest takeaways from the ABINSA application process?
The application process for competitions like ABINSA imparted valuable lessons.

Precision emerged as a crucial factor, emphasising the need for meticulous attention to detail in presenting my work. Creativity played an equally vital role, encouraging me to infuse originality into my entries to stand out among a pool of talented competitors.

How was the industry tour you received as part of your regional win?
The industry tour that accompanied my regional win was an eye-opening experience.

Visiting Allied Pinnacle Milling, the Gold Coast Factory, and various established bakeries and production facilities was a fascinating experience. Exploring diverse facets of the baking industry, from milling to final production, likely provided valuable insights into the intricacies of the supply chain and the different stages of creating bakery products.

What advice would you give people who are thinking about entering competitions like that in the future?
My advice is to approach it with genuine passion for the craft. Stand out by infusing creativity into your entries, paying meticulous attention to every detail for a polished presentation. Embrace the learning opportunities that competitions provide, connecting with fellow competitors and industry professionals. Regular practice hones skills and staying updated on industry trends keeps your entries relevant. Most importantly, find joy in the process, and value constructive criticism as a pathway to continuous improvement.

Where to next? What do you see for yourself in the industry in the future?
I envision a path of continuous growth and innovation within the baking industry. My goal is to further expand my bakery’s footprint, exploring new avenues for creativity and pushing the boundaries of pastry artistry.

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