Media release: LA Judge Award for Baking Apprentice of the Year is back!

13 April, 2022

After a two-year hiatus, Australasia’s most prestigious annual baking prize – the LA Judge Award – returns from 10-12 May, 2022.

The LA Judge Award, which pits young apprentice bakers from across Australia and New Zealand against each other over three days of friendly but intense competition, was established in 1967.

Following three days of rigorous competition, a gala dinner to celebrate the apprentices and award the LA Judge title will be held on 12 May, 2022 in Sydney, attended by around 200 baking industry stakeholders from across Australia.

AEGIC General Manager Research and Technical Services Dr Ken Quail said the LA Judge Award promised to be a welcome return after the COVID-enforced break.

“For 53 years, the LA Judge Award has promoted excellence for young bakers and recognised baking ability and industry knowledge to identify future industry leaders,” he said.

“Each year, the three-day LA Judge Award competition culminates in a gala dinner and award evening, which is a fantastic opportunity for the whole Australasian baking industry to come together and celebrate the wonderful young men and women who are the industry’s future.

“For those in the baking industry who have never attended an LA Judge Award gala dinner before it’s a great opportunity to enjoy some great entertainment, and more importantly this year, meet in person to celebrate with the young bakers and have some fun.”

Dr Quail said the competition relied on the support of industry sponsors to meet the significant costs of running such an event.

“I would like to sincerely thank all the industry sponsors who have made it possible to run the LA Judge Award for so long”, he said.

Sponsors: Major sponsor and prize sponsor Puratos; Gala Dinner sponsor Woolworths; major sponsors Australian Bakels, Manildra Group, Lesaffre Asia Pacific, National Baking Industry Association and Vanrooy; supporting sponsors MAURI and Novozymes; and competition break sponsor ADM.

For more information about sponsoring this event please click here.

53 years of supporting young bakers

Each year, one candidate from each Australian State and Territory, as well as New Zealand, may be nominated to compete through their state baking association. Because the event has been postponed due to COVID-19 for the past two years, for the 2022 competition only the rules state that candidates must be 25 years of age or younger as of the 1st January in the year of competition, and must not have completed their formal studies more than 24 months before the year of competition.

The competition takes place at AEGIC’s North Ryde Pilot Bakery, part of the former Bread Research Institute. The competitors are put through their paces in all aspects of baking, including practical baking exercises, technical knowledge, food safety and communication skills.

Dr Quail said the LA Judge Award was a friendly yet intense competition.

“LA Judge candidates are put through their paces in a rigorous three-day contest. Competitors are encouraged to support each other and often form close friendships.

“Every candidate is a winner just by making it to the competition. Many LA Judge winners and competitors have gone on to make their mark in the baking industry.”


Les Judge – an industry legend

The LA Judge Award was established in 1967 and is named in honour of Australian baking industry legend Les Judge.

Born in 1904 in Inverell, New South Wales, Les Judge was a competitive baker and a great communicator who was known for engaging with farmers and other bakers to improve the industry. He came from a farming and baking family and was involved in a number of both city and country bakeries. A wide interest in the industry resulted in Mr Judge taking many new initiatives on behalf of the baking industry.

LA Judge is best remembered for persuading wheat growers to listen to the pleas of bakers and grow better quality baking wheat. He changed farmers’ attitudes not by rhetoric, but by going to them and baking bread.

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