NZ’s Top Young Bread Baker announced

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, which he plans to use to travel overseas and visit larger plant bakeries and ingredients manufacturers.

Runner-up Luke Rosemergy from Breadcraft in Masterton receives $5 000 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.

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