Blogs (Media Centre)

The weather is cooling down but things are heating up in the kitchen for two TAFE NSW Hamilton students.

Zachary Trigg and Tristan Beisler are in the final preparation stages to compete next week against 11 other apprentices in the 2019 National Excellence in Baking Awards in Melbourne, to be held on 4 and 5 June.

Mr Trigg, a Mount Hutton resident who graduated with a Certificate III in Retail Baking (Cake and Pastry) in 2018, is hoping to win 2019 National Apprentice Pastry Cook. Mr Beisler, a Certificate III in Retail Baking (Combined) student from Dungog, is hoping to win 2019 National Apprentice Baker.

With training intensifying, the locals hope to have similar luck to Mr Beisler last month, when he took home the prestigious title of Australasian Baking Apprentice of the Year at the LA Judge competition in Sydney.

An apprentice at Pekárna bakery in Adamstown, Mr Trigg says he wasn’t always so sure of his career plans but has now found his calling. He recently committed further by deciding to move to Belgium next year to train at the internationally renowned Callebaut Chocolate Academy.

“Baking allows me to be creative with pastries and sweet treats, but also to use a great deal of precision and skill,” Mr Trigg said.

“It’s really fun to make cakes and have to figure things out when something goes wrong. I would like to own a business one day but right now am taking a step at a time and will wait to see how I go in Belgium.”

The baking industry is facing a nationwide shortage of chefs and pastry cooks. Recent TAFE NSW research found 50 per cent of baking job roles and a whopping 60 per cent of pastry cook roles were left unfulfilled in 2018 due to a skills shortage.

Mr Trigg’s boss, Petra McLoughlin, said Mr Trigg was always asking questions to improve his skills.

“He’s a great employee … dedicated, hard-working, always willing to find ways to improve his skills. We often say that when things are going great or bad, Zach is just all over it,” Ms McLoughlin said.

“I’m self-taught and have learnt plenty over the years but Zachary has taught me additional skills and techniques he learnt at TAFE NSW. The teachers are very dedicated to student success; I’m very impressed with how much extra work they put in to ensure their students succeed.”

Executive Officer of the Baking Association Australia Tony Smith said the beauty of the National Excellence in Baking Awards was that students could compete every year while they were still in their apprenticeship.

“This is a wonderful experience for any apprentice and it’s amazing to see and taste the quality of the creations competitors come up with,” he said.

TAFE NSW is Australia’s largest training provider, offering over 1200 courses, from certificates to degrees. Many can be studied online via TAFE Digital. Visit or call 131 601.