10 O’Clock Cookie Company, Masterton
Baking has been a life-changing experience for Chris Martin. It all began when he wanted to get married and his future father-in-law told him to get a job. The offer of a baking apprenticeship in the family business was something Chris first viewed as a chore. “I didn’t want to work, I really didn’t want to get out of bed early. I was young and wanted it easy but baking has completely changed me.”
“I’m passionate about it now. I am passionate about putting through good products and I am proud of my work and like seeing people enjoy the results. I really enjoy the top-end artistic work and the intricate detail needed for icing on cakes, especially wedding cakes.”
The practice he has put into his work and the care he takes to produce baked goods has paid off for Chris, who competed in an intense three hour bake-off for the finals of the Weston Milling Trainee of the Year in 2008. His attention to detail and superb products won him the title. Chris has completed his National Certificate in Baking Level 4 through the Modern Apprenticeship, which included distance learning courses with Plant & Food Research.
He thanks his mum for an early interest in baking and says he owes much of his success in baking to his brother-in-law and boss Mike Kloeg. “Mike has shown me so much. He helped me realise what it is to take pride in your work and I have learnt from the special way he comes to baking. He’s helped me so much, not just in baking; he’s a real mentor, like a life coach.”
Chris still finds it hard to get out of bed for his 4 am start and has three alarms set on his cell phone. He recommends the lifestyle and says it’s great to get home and spend the afternoon with his young family and even enjoys baking with his young sons. His two-year-old wants to be a baker when he grows up.