Top Gong: Imogen Fearon

Pictured is Imogen Fearon. She is wearing chef whites and a dark cap. Her hair is tied back and she has a smile on her face. She's looking down as she sprinkles flour onto a stainless steel bench.

May saw five bakers from across Australia battle it out at the LA Judge Award for apprentice bakers. Queensland-based Imogen Fearon from Chouquette Patisserie took home the crown.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I’m a 20-year-old living in Brisbane working for a small patisserie in New Farm. I’ve worked in this industry for a little over two years, specialising in both bread and pastry and I love it. Creating new and exciting flavours has always been my dream.

When and why did you decide to enter the baking industry?
When I was 14 my mum taught me to make dinner rolls that tasted like heaven. From then on I became addicted to the fact that flour, water, salt, and yeast could make something so life-changing.

I began watching and helping my mum in the kitchen after that. When I graduated high school I was a little stumped in deciding what to do but then I realised I could do something I love, so I followed my passion and started my apprenticeship.

What was it that first attracted you?
What first attracted me was the idea of creating. Making different and unique flavour profiles. That, and this career is delicious.

You recently won the LA Judge Award. Can you share a bit about the competition experience?
The LA Judge is a completely mind-blowing competition. Filled with theory, presentation, and practical components. Run over three days a total of eight theory papers ranging from ingredient functions down to the milling process of flour. Two presentations: one on yourself and the other on a relevant baking industry topic chosen by the judges.

The practical component was a day of baking different types of bread and designing a Paris Olympic-themed bread plaque.

What was it like to take home the top prize?
It was exhilarating. It is an absolute honour to take home the top prize.

What was the preparation like for the competition?

It was hard that’s for sure. I spent months preparing for this competition. Every one of my weekends were spent in my training facility’s kitchen practicing moulding and shaping bread. Many early mornings were spent cramming in study and countless designs were drawn for my plaque. And I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Where do you see yourself in the industry in the future?
I want to travel around the world learning different styles of bread and pastry. Then, eventually either open my own business or become a teacher and pass on what I have learnt to the next generation of young bakers, but I will wait and see what this industry has in store for me.

What’s your favourite thing to make?
My all-time favourite thing to make, and to eat, is a humble croissant. You can’t beat the flaky layers of buttery goodness.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I highly recommend participating in competitions for all apprentices. They can teach you so much and potentially change your life

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