Richard Mehana

2009 Young Bread Baker of the Year

This year’s winner was Richard Mehana from Quality Bakers Auckland.

Richard began working at Quality Bakers Auckland in February 2004.  He began his Plant Baking Apprenticeship in March 2006, signing on as a Modern Apprentice because of his age, and he did his training on Plant 1.  During his apprenticeship he was nominated by his Plant Manager to compete in the Quality Bakers Apprentice of the Year.  This was a very close competition and the two occasions Richard entered it provided him valuable experience and confidence for the future.  He completed his Level 4 qualification in February 2009 which made him eligible to enter the New Zealand Young Baker of the Year.

Richard’s research and presentation topic for the Young Baker of the Year competition was the Accurist 2 divider.  This is a relatively new design of divider, with none currently in production in New Zealand or Australia.  Richard did most of his research through the Baker Perkins web site but also contacted Geoff Hawley, their Sales Manager for this region of the world, and Andy Boyce, their local representative.  Richard’s all round performance was the key to his win and he receives a cup and a research grant up to $10,000 for research such as overseas travel to look at new technology, ingredients, process or trends in products. 

As Richard was aged under 23 on January 1 2009, he was also nominated to represent New Zealand, (and of course Goodman Fielder), in the LA Judge Award held at the Bread Research Institute in Sydney.  This award is seen as the most prestigious award available in Australia and this years Award was the 42nd time it had been competed for.  Richard competed extremely well in this event with his scores coming very close to the winning candidate.