Finding our next generation bakers

23 May 2012

Three ambitious secondary students are set to compete for the title of Rising Young Baker 2012, in a live ‘ready steady bake’ style showdown at Fine Food NZ this June.

The lucky competitors are Sam Heaven, 14 years old from St John’s College in Hastings, Jess Wallace, 17 years old from Lytton High in Gisborne, and a yet to be announced student from Manurewa High School in Auckland – who is being selected in a bake-off.

Sam, who comes from a family of bakers, says he’s been interested in baking from the time he could sit up. “I would go to work with my dad and he would sit me in a cheese box on the bench to watch him ice gateaux,” says Sam. “Now I’m allowed to help with daily production during the school holidays.”

 The youngsters will have the support of experienced and qualified mentors Graham Heaven from Plant & Food Research, Malcolm Cook from Bakels, and Phill Gloistein, an ex Chef now training to be a teacher.

Each contestant will have to craft cupcakes to an Olympic theme, as well as a more traditional ciabatta bread and fruit strudel pastry, all within 90 minutes. Their efforts will be tasted and tested by judges Peter Rood, Competenz Baking Specialist, and Kathy Kearns from Viands Bakery – winner of the 2011 Bakery of the Year Award.

The competition is run by Competenz, the Baking Industry Training Organisation (ITO), and BIANZ, the Baking Industry Association of New Zealand, in a collaborative effort to promote baking as a career pathway for our youth.

“I’d like to do my apprenticeship and become a qualified baker when I finish school. I think this is a great trade to have and my goal is to one day have my own ‘Cakery’ and bake cake that people from all over New Zealand will want to buy!”

The winner will take home an Apple iPad, a Slice Magazine subscription, a baker’s hat, jacket and apron, and a $1,000 Scholarship towards a baking qualification with Competenz.

“All I want to do is practice for the competition but Mum keeps saying ‘Sam, the competition is still a month away,’ but I can’t wait – I think this will be an awesome experience.”

So if you want to watch the up-and-coming bakers compete, register for Fine Food by visiting their website. Fine Food runs from Sunday 17 June to Tuesday 19 June, with the Rising Young Baker competition kicking off midday  Tuesday.