Bak­ers bred to per­form

The Riverine Herald - - YOUR OPINION - By Kenji Sato

TWO ap­pren­tices from Beech­worth Bak­ery in Echuca have been stars at the Cen­tral Re­gion WorldSkills Bak­ing Com­pe­ti­tion at GOTAFE in Shep­par­ton.

The com­pe­ti­tion was hot, but third year bak­ing ap­pren­tice Ethan Cootes even­tu­ally rose to the top win­ning Gold for the Re­tail Bak­ing Bread cat­e­gory.

“It was my first com­pe­ti­tion. I didn’t ac­tu­ally think I would win the thing, but it turns out I’m do­ing some­thing right,” he said.

Hav­ing won the gold medal in the re­gional com­pe­ti­tion, Ethan now qual­i­fies to com­pete at the Na­tional WorldSkills com­pe­ti­tion in Syd­ney 2018.

Ethan said he is un­sure whether he will par­tic­i­pate in the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion be­cause he still has much to learn about the finer points of bak­ing.

“I’ve learnt a lot of skills dur­ing my ap­pren­tice­ship so far. I did not know any­thing be­fore I came into this. I was just do­ing it as a job but it turns out I’m al­right at it.”

“I’ve de­cided to stay in bak­ing. I en­joy it, so I’ll see how it goes from here.”

Sec­ond year ap­pren­tice Kyla Wagner won Sil­ver in the Cake and Pas­try divi­sion, and said she thor­oughly en­joyed the com­pe­ti­tion.

“You have to love what you do. That’s what its all about,” she said.

Kyla spe­cialises in cakes and dec­o­ra­tions, and her dream job is to bake cakes on a cruise ship.

“That way you’d get to hol­i­day all year round. I can’t wait to grad­u­ate in De­cem­ber.”

GOTAFE bak­ing trainer Kim Ban­field said he en­joyed the com­pe­ti­tion even though he didn’t get to taste any of the pas­tries.

“You do have to look af­ter your weight some­times,” he said.

Kim was the con­venor of this year’s re­gional com­pe­ti­tion, which he said was one of the big­gest he has seen in a long time. “The com­pe­ti­tion was fan­tas­tic. ‘‘The event has prob­a­bly dou­bled in size since our last re­gion­als were held in 2015.”

Kim said there was a lot of tal­ent in re­gional Vic­to­ria go­ing un­no­ticed, and tour­na­ments were the best way to get them ex­po­sure.

“It’s hard to en­cour­age our bak­ers to at­tend na­tional tour­na­ments. They’re very good with their hands, but they’re not con­fi­dent. I’m try­ing to slap them on the back, en­cour­age them to prac­tise and get out there. It’s free en­try, so what do you have to lose?”

Kenji Sato

RIS­ING TO THE TOP: Beech­worth Bak­ery’s gold medal win­ner Ethan Cootes (left) with GOTAFE bak­ing trainer Kim Ban­field (cen­tre) and sil­ver medal win­ner Kyla Wag­ner. Photo:

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