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​​​​​​​Kurri Kurri apprentice wins National Baking Award

TAFE NSW Hamilton

An apprentice at Kurri Kurri's Bread Basket, Lucas Staff, has been named the National Apprentice Baker of the Year at the National 2021 Excellence in Baking Awards in Sydney.  

State finalists went head to head in an epic bake-off for the national title at the annual event hosted by the Baking Association of Australia at the Baking Industry Trade Show.  

The prestigious award is the best thing since sliced bread for the 21-year-old, as he counts down to completing the final months of his apprenticeship and Certificate III in Baking at TAFE NSW Hamilton.  

Mr Staff says his TAFE NSW teachers sharing their industry experience helped him master his timings to create the required 15 baking products within a six-hour timeframe.  

"My teachers really helped me prepare. Their passion and ability to convey hard concepts from artisan breads to chemical formulas and share their knowledge has been inspiring," said Mr Staff. 

"This award is an amazing thing to have on my resume, and I enjoyed every part of the competition from the judges to the competitors. I want to keep learning everything I can and be the best in this industry."  

Baking Association of Australia, Executive Officer Tony Smith says it was a close finish between finalists, with the winning points coming down to presentation.  

"Lucas's presentation was outstanding, and he now joins an alumnus of successful winners, many that have further refined their skills to compete internationally and mentor aspiring bakers," Mr Smith said.  

Employment growth is expected to continue in the Bakery industry, with the workforce predicted to peak at 31,000 workers by 2025. 1 

TAFE NSW Head Teacher Baking Lodewijk De Winter said Lucas's national award was testament to his commitment to excellence in the baking industry. 

"We're very proud of Lucas. He demonstrated a high standard of technical ability and a strong commitment to growing his skills to compete at the national level," Mr De Winter said. 

"Lucas is proof that the practical skills and experience offered at TAFE NSW equip students to compete at the national level, giving our students a competitive edge when launching their careers."  

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Media contact: Kelly Lawler, Communications Specialist. Phone: 0408 481 864. Email: