Five of Australia’s best young baking apprentices have competed for the prestigious L A Judge Award, an annual event hosted by GrainGrowers Limited to recognise and encourage excellence in the industry.
John Leontiades, 22, from Louttit Bay Bakery in Lorne, Victoria, was named the winner at a presentation ceremony in Sydney on Thursday night. He will receive an overseas study tour valued at $3500.
Representatives from other states were Tobias Morley (Woolworths Kingston, Tasmania), Jasmine Harris (Bakers Delight, Woodville, South Australia), Geoffrey Brinkley (Woolworths Caloundra, Queensland) and Joshua Patrick Walton (Bushmans Bakery, Lake Cathie, New South Wales).
Baking apprentices aged 23 years or younger are nominated by their state industry association to compete in the gruelling, three-day competition.
Morten Staer, GrainGrowers bakery consultant and the competition’s chief judge, said the hotly contested competition – held at GrainGrowers’ in-house baking facilities – saw competitors evaluated on practical baking, technical knowledge and communication.
“The competition was established in 1967 in honour of the late Les Judge, a pioneer in the baking industry,” Mr Staer said.
“This year’s standard of competition was extremely high, which bodes well for the future of the industry.
“I hope these five motivated, talented and articulate young people go on to achieve bigger and better things and become baking industry pioneers in their own right.”
Dr Ken Quail, GrainGrowers general manager of technical services, said the presentation ceremony gave all competitors the opportunity to network with representatives from the milling and baking industries, and grain producers.
The L A Judge Award recognises the best young baking apprentices in Australasia each year. Competitors enter as either an Australian state or New Zealand representative. Their skills are evaluated in areas of practical baking, technical knowledge and communication abilities over three days.
The competition is proudly sponsored by Lesaffre Australia Pacific, CW Pacific, Tip Top, Kerry Pinnacle Bakery Ingredients, Manildra Group, Bakers Delight, Baking Associations of Australia and Australian Bakels.