Australasia’s most prestigious baking prize: the LA Judge Award

Tuesday 7 May, 2019

The most talented young bakers across Australasia go head to head next week in the region’s most prestigious annual baking competition.

Every year, baking apprentices from around Australia and New Zealand converge on Sydney for three days of friendly but intense competition – each vying for the coveted LA Judge medal.

This year’s competition will feature candidates working in bakeries in Devonport, Tasmania; Stirling, South Australia; Dungog, New South Wales; Belmont, Queensland; Mandurah, Western Australia; and Auckland, New Zealand.

LA Judge Award director Dr Ken Quail said the event was established in 1967 by the Bread Research Institute of Australia – now AEGIC Sydney – as a way of promoting excellence for young bakers.

“The LA Judge Award is the baking industry’s way of celebrating young bakers and encouraging the next crop of industry leaders to come to the fore,” he said.

“The competition concludes with a gala dinner and award ceremony, attended by a ‘who’s who’ of the Australian baking and allied industries.

“This night is a great way for the whole baking industry to come together and support the young men and women who are the industry’s future – and more importantly it’s once-in-a-lifetime chance for each competitor to network and make crucial industry connections.”

The competition is held at AEGIC Sydney and involves rigorous baking trials, theory assessments and presentations over three days. At the end of the contest, the candidates bake a special “bread plaque” and various other baked goods to be displayed during the gala dinner.

Dr Quail said the competition relied on the support of industry sponsors.

“AEGIC sincerely thanks all industry sponsors who have made it possible to run the LA Judge Award for an amazing 52 years.”

The 2019 LA Judge Award runs from 14-16 May, 2019. The gala dinner and award ceremony will be held Thursday 16 May.

More information: https://www.aegic.org.au/what-we-do/la-judge-award/

Media contact
Keir Tunbridge
0409 991 817
keir.tunbridge@aegic.org.au

Meet the 2019 LA Judge Award candidates!

Thank you to the sponsors of the 2019 LA Judge Award


Fraser Von Stieglitz, 19
Banjo’s Bakery, Devonport
TASMANIA

When did you decide you wanted to become involved in the baking industry?
In year 10 of high school.

What motivates you to be a baker?
The feeling of self-worth when completing a new product or learning a new skill. Baking has been the only area in life that I feel I have accomplished something in, I’m proud to be a baker

What would you like to get out of the LA Judge Award?
Experience and opportunity. 

What’s your favourite kind of baked product to create?
Danish, croissant and any dough product

What is the best thing about being a baker?
The people and the chance to be creative on a daily basis!

If you could create anything in the world with baked products what would it be?
I would make a life size version of David Spade from the movie Joe Dirt.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Running my own bakery!


Tristan Dylan Beisler, 20
Barrington Bakery, Dungog
NEW SOUTH WALES

When did you decide you wanted to become involved in the baking industry?
From a young age, I worked in a family business and I’ve been helping out my dad out at the bakery for as long as I can remember.

What motivates you to be a baker?
Watching people eat my baking always puts a smile on my face. Plus I’ve got siblings to feed.

What would you like to get out of the LA Judge Award?
I enjoy working with new people and equipment. It gives you a chance to reflect on what you could do to improve your business or own baking style. Plus baking competitions are just fun to do.

What’s your favourite kind of baked product to create?
I enjoy making white bread the most. It’s simple and what we produce the most of, so it’s calming to come back to.

What is the best thing about being a baker?
I could probably sum it up in something my grandad used to tell me, that no matter how bad a day you had yesterday, you can still go into work today and make something great. It’s also a bonus that bakers make edible products.

If you could create anything in the world with baked products what would it be?
Some form of gothic building, I really like that style of architecture.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Hopefully being more active in running the family business. Other than that maybe owning a house/apartment.


Jessiel Villahermosa, 23
Baker’s Delight, Halls Head
WESTERN AUSTRALIA

When did you decide you wanted to become involved in the baking industry?
Back in the Philippines, I took Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management. In that program, I was able to experience doing cooking, baking, food and beverage services, events management and etc. From all of those, I got more interested in baking. When I came here in Australia, I have planned to study more to enhance my skills and knowledge about baking.

What motivates you to be a baker?
When a customer complains, it motivates me to do my job even better, always take a good look of the quality of every product and learn every day at work.

What would you like to get out of the LA Judge Award?
I am looking forward to meeting apprentices like me and hearing their different stories. Also, the experience I’ll get in this competition would be irreplaceable. It is such an honour to be part of it and meet the big bosses from the baking industry and learn from them.

What’s your favourite kind of baked product to create?
I really like doing scrolls especially with sweet dough and if the result is good, I feel proud of myself.

What is the best thing about being a baker?
The best thing of being a baker is when your employer acknowledge your skills in baking and compliments your work — saying that she is proud of you.

If you could create anything in the world with baked products what would it be?
I want to create a personalised bread, like to make a human face shaped bread. I hope that’s possible.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
In 10 years time, I am a head baker in the same company with the same employer and inspires more apprentices. Also, have my own business in the Philippines.


Lydia Horne, 20
Creative Crusts
QUEENSLAND

When did you decide you wanted to become involved in the baking industry?
My final year of schooling (2015).

What motivates you to be a baker?
The smiles on people’s faces when they receive baked goods.

What would you like to get out of the LA Judge Award?
New challenges, life changing experiences and longtime friends.

What’s your favourite kind of baked product to create?
Turkish bread.

What is the best thing about being a baker?
Being able to express my creativeness and watching others enjoy my finished product.

If you could create anything in the world with baked products what would it be?
A house (so you could live in it and eat it!)

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Owning my own micro bakery from home.


Trae Wawatai, 23
Goodman Fielder / Quality Bakers, Auckland
NEW ZEALAND

When did you decide you wanted to become involved in the baking industry?
After moving to Auckland and getting a better look at how technical and interesting baking is.

What motivates you to be a baker?
My family. I have a Fiancé and Son aged 6.

What would you like to get out of the LA Judge Award?
Experience, knowledge and connections with fellow contestants and judges alike. 

What’s your favourite kind of baked product to create?
I really enjoy making Sweet dough products because I just love what you can do like adding chocolate mmmm

What is the best thing about being a baker?
The connections that I’ve made so far with the amount of people I’ve met through baking.

If you could create anything in the world with baked products what would it be?
A product that would change your size like in Alice in Wonderland.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
In a production manager role or running my own bakery.


Hannah MacDonald, 22
Baker’s Delight, Stirling
SOUTH AUSTRALIA

When did you decide you wanted to become involved in the baking industry?
I have always enjoyed creating from baking cakes to extraordinary paintings.

What motivates you to be a baker?
The challenge and the sense of achievement.

What would you like to get out of the LA Judge Award?
The experience and the ability to achieve greater accomplishments it would be an honour

What’s your favourite kind of baked product to create?
Artisan bread 

What is the best thing about being a baker?
The smell of freshly baked bread, the hours and putting smiles on the customers

If you could create anything in the world with baked products what would it be?
Danishes and croissants

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
My aspirations are to continue my creations in art work as well as become a fully qualified baker and pastry chef and have my own successful bakery.

LA Judge Award competition

Australasia’s most prestigious annual baking prize recognises the best young baking apprentice in Australia and New Zealand.

Each year bakers who are just about to finish – or have recently finished – their apprenticeship compete for the honour of the LA Judge title.

Each Australian state, and New Zealand, has the opportunity to nominate a competitor 23 years or younger. These young bakers’ skills are evaluated in areas of practical baking, technical knowledge and communication abilities during the three days of competition.

Recognising these skills ensures the development of a strong baking industry through encouragement of leadership.

Criteria

  • One candidate to be nominated from each Australian State and Territory, as well as New Zealand.
  • Each candidate must be 23 years of age or younger as of the 1st January in the year of competition.
  • Candidates must not have completed their formal studies more than 12 months prior to 1st January in the year of competition.
  • Employment must be within the baking industry.
  • Must live and work in the State or Territory of nomination.
  • No candidate may compete on more than one occasion.
  • Candidates are nominated through State Baking Associations.