Stacey Smith

Jackson’s Bakery, Havelock North

Perfecting the allure of a divine, velvety Mud Cake is just one of the reasons that Stacey Smith gets out of bed to be at work by 4 am. “Cakes are my favourite to make. I like making them, especially icing wedding cakes. It’s an art in itself and I am only just touching the surface. I want to do a good job for the customer and their feedback is important to me.”

Stacey began baking four and a half years ago and has completed his National Certificate in Food Production – Baking level 4 through the Modern Apprenticeship with the guidance of Plant & Food Research’s Alison Dundass. The bakery he works for, Jackson’s Bakery, has expanded and supplies the café Jackson’s on Joll. Stacey enjoys working with the team of bakers and says they have all supported him in his career. Each person has a specialist skill, perhaps pastry and pie making or bread baking, and they all learn from one another.

“Everyone has really helped me heaps. The new apprentice has worked as a chef and he is giving me lots of tips, even on what to cook for tea.”

Stacey starts at 4 am baking doughs from the retarder, and then he bakes specialty breads such as Ciabatta, and after breakfast at 7.30 am he starts on cakes. He’s usually finished by 2.30 pm and when not catching up on sleep will head to the beach to surf.

Stacey likes the ‘hands on’ nature of his work. He thinks things have worked out well for him considering that when he finished seventh form he didn’t know what he wanted to do. He thanks a mate for suggesting the baking apprenticeship.