Two up-and-coming Orange bakers will put their skills to the test at the NSW Excellence in Baking titles in Sydney later this month.
Apprentice baker Gabby Thompson and apprentice pastry cook Tyarna Pavy will go head-to-head with apprentices from all over the state in a five-hour bake off at Ryde TAFE on January 24.
They'll be competing for a spot at the Grand Final in Melbourne in May and a chance to win the Excellence in Baking award - the pinnacle title for apprentice bakers and pastry cooks.
Ms Thompson, a third year apprentice at the Sugar Mill Cafe in Orange, and Ms Pavy, an apprentice pastry cook at Ashcroft's SUPA IGA, heard about the competition through TAFE, where they are classmates.
"We both thought: 'that sounds like a good idea, let's give it a go,'" Ms Thompson said.
The five hour bake-off will require competitors to create a range of baked products over five hours to a set criteria, which will then be presented to the judges.
For Ms Thompson, this will include a selection of breads such as Vienna, cobs, a braided loaf, baguettes ciabatta, fruit loaves and rolls.
"I'm pretty excited, but the nerves are starting to kick in now it's getting a bit closer," said Ms Thompson.
She says she's been able to get a bit of practice in for the competition in recent weeks.
"You can trial it before, so if things don't go right you can tweak the recipes," she said.
"I've been given permission from my bosses - they've said 'go and use the ovens, go and use the tins."
"But other than that, I feel like it's more mental preparation."
It was working in the bakery at IGA as a teenager that sparked Ms Thompson's interest in baking.
"I was only an assistant - I'd put the bread in the bags and label the cakes and things like that, but I could see what was going on and thought: 'I'd like to do that one day, that looks like fun.'
"Eventually I learnt to make donuts and biscuits - that really introduced me to baking."
She says it's been a privilege to work at the Sugar Mill for the past year or so, and describes owners Stacey Ewin and Darren Tracey as "amazing teachers."
The 25-year-old, who has ambitions to open her own bakery one day, says she's found her passion.
"I just love making bread. It's a real artform. There's nothing better than seeing a loaf of bread come out of the oven - it just looks like perfection."
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