TOP GONG: Madison Chislett

TOP GONG: Madison Chislett, 2021 Sydney J Packham National Scholarship Award winner

Madison Chislett from Johnny Baker in Castlemaine, Victoria, was honoured to receive the 2021 Sydney J Packham National Scholarship Award.

How did it feel to win the award?

At first, I was a bit shocked. I never go into anything with hopes to ‘win’ it. I much prefer to enter something for the knowledge that I’ll gain from the experience. But now it’s been very rewarding that all my hard work has finally paid off.

How did you prepare for your entry?

I told everybody I knew so they could keep me on track, I pulled out every book I own, I contacted companies and people I knew within the industry for help in finding the right information.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into baking:

I’m naturally quite a creative person so in school the only class that I really enjoyed was foods class. I would make cakes for people in my spare time and all my feedback was that I needed to do this for a living. When the time came for me to leave school and choose a career path, I was tossing up between wanting to be a pastry chef or a zookeeper. I actually got accepted into both courses but ultimately decided on pastry because there are more opportunities for employment and I was enjoying it. So, I started studying at William Angliss and someone in my class actually told me about Johnny Baker, and that was how I found out they were hiring for an apprentice at the time. I applied and I have never looked back.

How long have you been at Johnny Baker?

I’ve worked at Johnny Baker for nearly five years now. I initially started as an apprentice in early 2017 and qualified at the end of 2019 and have been working as a pastry chef there ever since.

Who has been your biggest support or mentor along the way?

I don’t think I can pinpoint it to just one person. Whether it’s teachers, friends, family, industry professionals I’ve been lucky enough to meet, people I’ve had the privilege of working with; they’ve all given me some really good advice that has stuck with me that I try to implement where I can.

Did you get to do the ‘Scholarship Adventure’ as regional winner?

Due to COVID restrictions that were still in place at the time we were unable to go. However, it’s been postponed to later this year.

Do you know yet whether you’ll be visiting IBIE Vegas or Singapore Food Hotel Asia?

We get to choose between the two and I’ve chosen IBIE Vegas.

What do you hope to get out of it/do while you’re there?

Whilst I’m there I would like to visit bakeries and patisseries and maybe take some classes or do some work experience. Ultimately, I just want to learn as much as I can and hopefully come back feeling inspired and with lots of ideas.

What are your career goals?

Even though I’m qualified I still feel like there’s so much to learn. I’d definitely like to keep challenging and expanding on the knowledge and skills I already have. My long-term career goals—I would like to either own my own business or take on a leadership role within an existing business and hopefully inspire people through food like I was when I was first starting in the industry.

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