A Western Australian baker has taken the top gong at the Australian Baking Industry National Scholarship Awards.
Clete O’Brien from Denmark Bakery was awarded the Arthur E Dennison scholarship, open to applicants aged 25 and over, for his research paper about sustainability within the baking industry.
“I believe sustainability is the next big thing; once you’ve made the initial outlay, the rewards are ten-fold. It’s something that’s good for the planet and good for the baking industry,” Clete said.
Named as a regional finalist last year, Clete said he was “more than pleased”’ to be awarded the scholarship this year.
“It’s quite a prestigious award,” Clete said.
As part of his scholarship Clete will partake in an overseas study trip to Chicago in 2013 where he will attend the American Society of Baking Conference, which will also include marketplace tours of the baking industry.
Clete and his wife Sharon plan to turn the trip into an event-of-a-lifetime and will spend one month driving across the US to explore food trends in major cities including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York.
“Neither of us have ever been to America before so we’re really excited,” Clete said.
In fact, Clete says one of the main reasons he entered the competition was to extend his knowledge of international trends.
“Sharon and I are looking for a bit of inspiration, if we can walk away from this trip having learned 10 or 20 new things, or even two or three new things, it will make our business stronger. No doubt, this once-in-a-lifetime experience will also make me stronger as a person,” Clete said.
My wife and I are from a small regional country bakery and I’ve got this passion for trying to learn more about the baking industry and about myself. I’ve got an inquisitive mind that continually likes to challenge itself.”