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Young Bread Baker of the Year

Honours Board

The Young Bread Baker of the Year competition began in 2007 and is open to all bakers in New Zealand that have completed their qualification within the past 2 years. Below you can click on past winners names to learn more about them.

Media Release – 21st November 2019

A Nelson plant bread baker has won the 2019 Young Bread Baker of the Year Award after a rigorous round of theoretical and practical testing.

Matthew McMahon, a Shift Co-ordinator at Quality Bakers in Nelson, was awarded a $10 000 research grant for his efforts, which he will use to travel to overseas baking conferences and superplants.

Matthew was taking part for the second time in the Young Bread Baker of the Year. He’s been refining his skills since he competed last year, and came back with practical experience and a relaxed attitude. But, he says, the competition was very different to last year, in both the theory and the practical elements.

Having been with Goodman Fielder for seven years and achieved a Level 4 Plant Bakery qualification, his academic ability and knowledge of baking science gave him a solid base to work from. “The big difference for me this year was to use all the available time and to make a much bigger range of products. I was aiming to be more creative and do something more complex this time,” says Matt. “I wanted to show the judges what I’ve learned over the past year. Overall I was really happy with the product I made.”

Rhys Harvey of Auckland bakery Daily Bread was awarded a $5000 research scholarship for Product Excellence for his outstanding performance in the practical aspect of the competition. Rhys hopes to head to New York with his research scholarship to do a short course at a world-renowned baking school.

The competition requires entrants to demonstrate their ability in three areas: a five-hour practical baking exercise in which they bake a variety of bread-based products, a 90-minute exam which tests their theoretical knowledge of baking technology, and a presentation on a given research topic.

Judges Everard Wijdeveld, Ralph Thorogood and Grant Inns were impressed with the range of innovative products made during the competition, saying the whole group had shown real potential as future leaders in the industry.

Judging Co-ordinator Tania Watson of the New Zealand Association of Bakers says the aim of the competition is to find bakers with potential whose talents can be nurtured through mentoring and development opportunities, and to reward the best newly qualified young bread baker in the country. “It’s always good to have both plant and craft bakeries represented as they bring different strengths to the competition. This year we had an even number of each.”

The Young Bread Baker of the Year is sponsored by the New Zealand Association of Bakers and is designed to promote excellence in people emerging from their training.


More about Matthew McMahon

After completing a BSc in Biological Sciences at Canterbury University, Matthew came back to his home town of Nelson and took up a temporary job carrying out distribution for Goodman Fielder. That temporary job ended up lasting four years. In that time, he observed the baking production area and realised he had a keen interest. After a year away in Fiji with his wife, they returned to Nelson and he took up an apprenticeship with Goodman Fielder.

Matthew says his degree has given him a deeper understanding of the processes and science behind baking, and a distinct advantage when trying to work out what is happening with products. He says it also makes writing technical reports and continuous improvement plans a lot easier. Matt is fascinated by bakery science, particularly the interaction of ingredients.

Involved in production scheduling and rostering for the bread and pastry lines, Matthew loves the variety of the role. He has also learned a lot about managing staff, and says a gentle approach works well with most people. He entered the Young Bread Baker of the Year 2018 Competition after talking with three good friends about it – they had all taken part in the past and saw the very real benefits.


More about Rhys Harvey

Growing up in a small town, Rhys says he had a choice between working on an onion farm or at the local New World. After a few months on the onion farm it was off to New World to stack shelves, but the instore baker nabbed him instead and after being offered an apprenticeship at Bakers Delight in Pukekohe he never looked back. He qualified in 2012 with a Level 3 and in 2018 with his Level 4. He’s worked at Bread and Butter and Best Ugly Bagels as head baker, and done a stint tutoring, but an offer from a friend opening a new bakery was too good to turn down and he’s now head baker at Daily Bread in Auckland with an apprentice under his wing.

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Media Release – 28th November 2018

An Auckland craft baker has won the 2018 Young Bread Baker of the Year Competition today, after two days of tough theoretical and practical testing.

Luke Frew, a baker at Miann Morningside, a patisserie and dessert restaurant, receives a $10 000 research grant, which he plans to use to travel to overseas baking conferences and get further training.

Luke, who entered the Young Bread Baker of the Year Competition with some encouragement from friends, says, “I’m not usually comfortable putting myself out there, but I knew it would be an excellent way to push my boundaries and see what I’m capable of. I was glad I had entered even before I won, but now I’ve really got an opportunity to see how much further I can go.”

YBBOY

The competition requires entrants to demonstrate their ability in three areas: a five-hour practical baking exercise in which they bake a variety of bread based products, a 90-minute exam which tests their theoretical knowledge of baking technology, and a presentation on a given research topic.

Judge Everard Wijdeveld says Luke put a concerted effort into the competition beforehand by doing research and reading technical books online. “It paid off because his written exam was very good, but it was in the practical that he really excelled. He came up with innovative ideas, for example a baked bun with a custard and apple filling which looked and tasted like a deep fried doughnut.”

Judging Co-ordinator Tania Watson of the New Zealand Association of Bakers says the aim of the competition is to find bakers with potential whose talents can be nurtured through mentoring and development opportunities, and to reward the best newly qualified young bread baker in the country.

“It’s always good to have both plant and craft bakeries represented. Craft and plant bakers bring different strengths and challenges to the competition. The competition is a confidence builder and shows them just what they can do under pressure.”

Jacob Saunders from Rolleston Bakery was runner up in the competition and receives a $5000 scholarship. Trae Wawatai from Quality Bakers in Auckland has been invited to carry out further training and represent New Zealand in the 2019 LA Judge Award.

Judge Grant Inns of Mauri ANZ says the diversity of entrants in the competition will ensure the group have a network of peers that they can draw on throughout their careers. “Over the past two days, the judges have had the privilege of watching five very motivated and talented young bakers go through the challenges of the competition and present themselves at a very high standard.

“Previous winners and finalists have gone on to take up leadership roles and I’m sure this year’s entrants will continue the tradition. We are very fortunate in the baking industry to have young people who are prepared to work hard and put themselves under pressure and outside their comfort zone to compete.”

The Young Bread Baker of the Year is sponsored by the New Zealand Association of Bakers and is designed to promote excellence in people emerging from their training.


YBBOY


About Luke Frew

Luke Frew is a 27-year-old apprentice baker at Miann, a patisserie and dessert restaurant in Morningside, Auckland. Luke is a few weeks away from qualifying as a Craft Baker and has six years’ experience in the industry.

After two years studying towards an Engineering degree, Luke realised it wasn’t what he wanted to be and returned to his home town of Pukekohe. Needing a job, he started working in a family owned bakery, never thinking he would find a career he now loves. He says it took a while for him to realise how much he enjoyed baking because he was working a night shift, but he just knew he wanted to carry on, and after a year began his apprenticeship.

After three years in the family bakery, Luke heard about a position in a bread bakery in Auckland which would give him the knowledge and experience of bread baking he was looking. He contacted the Head Baker through Instagram and after a trial period, worked at Amano for 18 months.

Moving to Miann was another step up for Luke, as he now makes pastry products and high end plated desserts. He says bread is still his favourite but learning to make high level, quality products in a restaurant environment is really valuable and suits him as he enjoys working on his own and sees this a strength he can use in his career.

Luke entered the Young Bread Baker of the Year Competition after some encouragement from friends. He says he isn’t comfortable putting himself “out there” but knows it’s an excellent way to push his boundaries and see what he is capable of.

When Luke isn’t baking he enjoys being at the beach, gardening and cooking. He gets his inspiration from his boss at Miann, recipe books, following creative bakers on Instagram, and using seasonal produce.

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Media Release – 2nd November 2017

An Auckland plant bread baker has won the 2017 Young Bread Baker of the Year Competition.

Matthew Chin of Quality Bakers Auckland receives a $10 000 research grant. Fascinated by the science and theory behind baking, Matt says he plans to use the grant to travel overseas and visit larger plant bakeries and ingredients manufacturers.

Runner-up Luke Rosemergy from Breadcraft in Masterton receives $5000 towards research, and Jacob Saunders of Rolleston Bakery in Canterbury has been invited to represent New Zealand at the Australian LA Judge Competition next year.

Judging Co-ordinator Tania Watson of the New Zealand Association of Bakers says she is impressed with the high calibre of contestants this year. “Both plant and craft bakery representatives have obviously put time and effort into preparing for the competition. They all confidently and professionally presented their research topic findings and the quality of baked goods produced during the practical session is excellent.”

The competition requires entrants to demonstrate their ability in three areas: a five hour practical baking exercise in which they bake a variety of bread based products, a 90 minute exam which tests their theoretical knowledge of baking technology, and a presentation on a given research topic.

Judge Everard Wijdeveld of NZ Bakels in Auckland, where the competition was held, says bread baking is a complex and often challenging trade. “Because of the variable nature of bread making ingredients, it’s not easy to make good quality bread all the time. Master bakers require a lot of knowledge, skill and passion.

“This year’s contestants have all shown these traits. Their recipe design, production planning, practical skills and finishing work were outstanding. They showed good technical knowledge and the ability to do complex product costing and production calculations. There is no doubt that these young bakers will enrich the New Zealand baking industry for many years to come. ”

Judge Mark Harris from Goodman Fielder says it is great to see the future of the baking industry becoming a chosen career path for young people. “I have been impressed with the high level of skill and confidence shown this year.”

Judge Grant Inns from Mauri says this year’s group has shown the highest standard yet. “This is a group of talented young bakers that are truly going to make their mark in the future. Their bakeries should be extremely proud of them.”

The Young Bread Baker of the Year is sponsored by the New Zealand Association of Bakers Inc. and is designed to promote excellence in people emerging from their training.


More about Matthew Chin: a baker and a boxer

Originally from Dunedin, Matt came to Auckland six months ago and is already making his mark. Starting out studying computer science at university, Matt says he soon realised he needed to do something else and began looking for a job. A role at Quality Bakers in Dunedin came up and after two weeks there he was offered a full time role, and after eight months, a Baking Apprenticeship.

Two years later, he headed to Auckland to take advantage of the opportunities available. He says learning the science and theory behind baking is the most interesting part of what he does. He would like to develop his interest in ingredients, research and product development.

Matthew is a keen boxer outside of work and enjoys competing. He says a baking competition and boxing require the same things: skills and a lot of preparation.

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A plant bread baker from Nelson won the 2016 Young Bread Baker of the Year Competition in Auckland today, after two days of rigorous theoretical and practical testing.

Matt Watson of Quality Bakers Nelson receives a $10 000 research grant, which he plans to use to visit AB Mauri in the Netherlands to learn more about enzymes.

Judging Co-ordinator Tania Watson of the New Zealand Association of Bakers says the objective of the competition is to find and reward the best newly qualified young bread baker in the country, and to identify bakers with potential whose talents can be fostered with development opportunities and mentoring.

“It’s great to have both plant and craft bakeries represented this year. They bring different strengths and challenges to the competition but they have all done remarkably well. If nothing else, this serves as a confidence builder and shows them what they are capable of.”

The competition requires entrants to demonstrate their ability in three areas: practical baking, theoretical knowledge of baking technology, and presentation of research – this year on bread from the USA, the UK and New Zealand.

Judge Everard Wijdeveld of NZ Bakels, where the competition was held, says being a top master baker requires talent, knowledge and skill, but more importantly passion, commitment and the right attitude. “This year’s Young Bakers have all shown that they have these traits. There is no doubt that they will enrich the New Zealand baking industry in years to come.”

Judge Mark Harris from Couplands Bakeries sees the entrants as future leaders in the baking industry. “It’s interesting to note the differences between plant and craft trained bakers, but they all have a high level of skill.”

Judge Tony Gunby of Competenz says the calibre of entrants this year was high. “I’m confident the future of our industry is in good hands after seeing their abilities. Today was about doing what they normally do at work but with three judges watching them and questioning them. That’s not easy.”

The Young Bread Baker of the Year is sponsored by the New Zealand Association of Bakers and is designed to promote excellence in people emerging from their training.

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PRESS RELEASE – 20 February 2015

Judging for the top young bread baker in New Zealand took place in Auckland yesterday with Nathan Roberts from Goodman Fielder in Auckland being declared winner of the 2015 “Young Bread Baker of the Year” competition.

In winning this award, Nathan demonstrated to the Judges ability in three key areas: practical baking, theoretical knowledge of baking technology, and presentation of research into consumer perceptions of having E-number labelled additives in bread.

As winner of this year’s award, Nathan will have the opportunity to broaden his industry knowledge and experience through a $10,000 research grant.

At the award presentation it was also announced that last year’s winner, Bree Scott from Lyttleton Bakery, has been selected to represent New Zealand at Australia’s LA Judge Competition to be held in Sydney in May.

The “Young Bread Baker of the Year” award is sponsored by the NZ Association of Bakers and is designed to promote excellence in people emerging from their training.

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PRESS RELEASE – 24th February 2014

Judging for the top young bread baker in New Zealand took place in Auckland last week with Aidan Horner from Quality Bakers in Nelson and Bree Scott from Lyttleton Bakery being declared joint winners of the 2014 “Young Bread Baker of the Year” competition.

In winning this award, Aidan and Bree demonstrated to the judges ability in three key areas: practical baking, theoretical knowledge of baking technology, and presentation of research into current baking industry trends in salt reduction. Their practical skills in particular were impressive.

As winners of this year’s award, Aidan and Bree will each have the opportunity to broaden their industry knowledge and experience through a $7,000 research grant.

The “Young Bread Baker of the Year” award is sponsored by the NZ Association of Bakers and is designed to promote excellence in people emerging from their training.

PRESS RELEASE – 24th February 2014

Judging for the top young bread baker in New Zealand took place in Auckland last week with Aidan Horner from Quality Bakers in Nelson and Bree Scott from Lyttleton Bakery being declared joint winners of the 2014 “Young Bread Baker of the Year” competition.

In winning this award, Aidan and Bree demonstrated to the judges ability in three key areas: practical baking, theoretical knowledge of baking technology, and presentation of research into current baking industry trends in salt reduction. Their practical skills in particular were impressive.

As winners of this year’s award, Aidan and Bree will each have the opportunity to broaden their industry knowledge and experience through a $7,000 research grant.

The “Young Bread Baker of the Year” award is sponsored by the NZ Association of Bakers and is designed to promote excellence in people emerging from their training.

PRESS RELEASE – 1 MARCH 2013

Judging for the top young bread baker in New Zealand took place in Auckland yesterday with Robert Reihana from Quality Bakers in Nelson winning the award of 2013 “Young Bread Baker of the Year”.

In winning this award, Robert demonstrated to the judges an ability to excel in three key areas: practical baking, theoretical knowledge of baking technology, and presentation of research into consumer attitudes to packaged bread and their changing purchasing habits.

As winner of this year’s award, Robert will have the opportunity to broaden his industry knowledge and experience through a $10,000 research grant.

This year the judges also awarded a $2,000 research grant to Sean Jackson from New World Centre City in Dunedin, who was runner up in the competition.

The “Young Bread Baker of the Year” award is sponsored by the NZ Association of Bakers and is designed to promote excellence in people emerging from their training.

PRESS RELEASE – 16 March 2012

In what was an extremely tight competition, Jason Keesing, from Fresh Start Bakeries, Glenfield, Auckland, has won the award of 2012″ Young Bread Baker of the Year”.

In winning this award, Jason demonstrated to the judges an ability to excel in three key areas: practical baking, theoretical knowledge of baking technology, and presentation of research.

As winner of this year’s award, Jason will have the opportunity to broaden his industry knowledge and experience through a $6,000 research grant.

This year the judges also considered that the standard was high enough to warrant awarding two further research grants:

Mark Greaney from Quality Bakers’ Huntly plant was awarded a $4,000 grant for coming a close runner up to the winner and achieving first place in the practical section of the competition.

Chieh-Chun Wu (Jimmy) from the in-store bakery at Pak N Save’s, Mill Street, Hamilton Store, was awarded a $2,000 grant.

The “Young Bread Baker of the Year” award, which is now in its 7th year, is sponsored by the NZ Association of Bakers and once again the judges have been delighted with the quality of the candidates coming through the competition.

PRESS RELEASE – 31 March 2011

Judging for the top young bread baker in New Zealand took place in Auckland recently with Kyle Tainsh, from Goodman Fielder’s Ernest Adams Bakery in Palmerston North, winning the award of 2011 “Young Bread Baker of the Year”.

In winning this award, Kyle demonstrated to the judges an ability to excel in three key areas: practical baking, theoretical knowledge of baking technology, and presentation of research into key changes in the New Zealand bread market over the last 30 years.

As winner of this year’s award, Kyle will have the opportunity to broaden his industry knowledge and experience through a $10,000 research grant.

This year the judges also awarded a $3,000 research grant to Wahid Yosofi from Couplands Bakeries Ltd in Christchurch, who was runner up in the competition. Wahid has also been nominated to represent New Zealand in Australia’s LA Judge Award for baking apprentices.

The “Young Bread Baker of the Year” award is sponsored by the NZ Association of Bakers and is designed to promote excellence in people emerging from their training.

Judging for the top young bread baker in New Zealand took place in Auckland recently with Adam McLean, of Quality Bakers Auckland, winning the award of 2010 “Young Bread Baker of the Year”.

In winning this award, Adam demonstrated to the judges an ability to excel in three key areas: practical baking, theoretical knowledge of baking technology, and presentation of research into key process and law changes that have occurred in the NZ baking industry over the last 50 years and their significance to the industry.

As winner of this year’s award, Adam will have the opportunity to broaden his industry knowledge and experience through a $10,000 research grant.

The “Young Bread Baker of the Year” award is sponsored by the NZ Association of Bakers and is designed to promote excellence in people emerging from their training.

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.

As the recipient of the 2008 Young Baker of the year award, I was able to use my research grant to take two overseas trips – the first of these was an invitation to attend an expo at Baker Perkins in Peterborough, London. Bakeries from all over the world were represented; including New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden just to name a few.

We spent one of two days touring the Baker Perkins factory with the benefit of well structured presentations and technicians on hand to answer our questions. The bulk of the tour was centred around three new innovative products from Baker Perkins.

1. The tweedy pressure vacuum mixer – Established enhancements and future developments

2. The Accurist 2 Dough Divider – Direct drive controlled server, and

3. The Multitex4 Moulder – Quality benefits within this stage.

It was clear from the start that Baker Perkins have had to adapt to changes in legislation and customers expectations of what quality product is. Equipment now has H&S and Food Safety aspects incorporated into its design albeit sometimes at the cost of efficiency.

The 2nd Day was made up of a site visit to Jackson’s of Hull, a bakery whose sole business is to bake bread for sandwiches. This means that the specs are tight and need to be controlled every step of the way. The plants were initially losing money on branded product and made the decision to close all plants bar one and to expand and upgrade the plant that was left. They even decided to change the product running through their plant and to focus on a market that had few players in it. As a result they are now making record profit and have the largest share of this particular market which extends also into parts of Europe.

My last trip was to the UBE Factory in Compton, Los Angeles where I was able to inspect the new safety features on baggers ordered for the New Zealand market. A tour of the factory gave me an opportunity to see differing stages of the baggers being built. A number of changes have been made around Health and Safety which included a light curtain between the slicer and bagger which stops the machine as soon as the beam is broken. This is currently non existent on our baggers and will decrease the risk factor by 95 – 100%.

Also evident was the fact that UBE have less moving parts in their baggers which means from a food safety aspect there is less areas for grease and crumb to become entrapped.

On the same day I had the opportunity to visit 2 small bakeries, both of which had some interesting concepts that have helped me understand the US bakery market in great depth.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Baking Industry Research Trust for the opportunity to make these trips and I would encourage all emerging bakers to participate in these awards.

Steve Beamish
2008 Young Baker of the Year

The first winner of this new award, presented by the New Zealand Association of Bakers (NZAB) for the best newly qualified bread baker in New Zealand, is Ricky Ashton from the Goodman Fielder Technical team.

Ricky will be representing the New Zealand Industry at the L.A. Judge competition held in Australia later this year and has identified that as part of $10,000 research grant prize he would like to visit the Las Vegas Baking exhibition.

Ricky was born in Whakatane 21 years ago and went to Trident High School there for 4 years. He applied for a job at Quality Bakers Rotorua for the Easter period 5 years ago and soon became a full time member of the smallgoods shift. He quickly learnt all the jobs in this area and began his apprenticeship in 2004. He has recently become a member of the GF Technical team under the watchful guidance of Joe Jarkiewicz.

Ricky won the Stage 1 Quality Bakers Apprentice of the Year for 2005 and the overall Apprentice of the Year in 2006 before entering this year’s NZAB “Young Baker of the Year” award. Ricky has started to plan how he will use the research grant of $10,000 he gets from winning NZAB “Young Baker of the Year”. The majority of the money will be used to visit the IBA expo in Florida held in October 2007. He sees this as an ideal opportunity to see the latest technology, equipment, ingredients and processes in the baking industry all in one area. He is also planning to visit some plants on this trip to see how large manufacturers operate in the USA.