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AN AWARD WORTHY REFLECTION. CATCHING UP WITH WINNER OF THE 2019 L.A JUDGE AWARD.

We were extremely proud to have sponsored the L.A Judge Award event again this year. The prestigious event has been running for over 50 years and is an excellent opportunity for young bakers to get a step up in their baking career. We were lucky enough to attend this year’s gala dinner and see 20-year-old Tristan Beisler crowned the winner of the 2019 L.A Judge Award. A month later, we caught up with Tristan to chat about his competition experience and his plans for the future.

What was the most challenging aspect of the competition? Was there a particular section you found the most nerve wracking? How did you overcome these feelings (if you had them at all)?

The whole competition was really challenging. It’s not only the hands on baking during the day, but working on the speech during the night was exhausting. Overall the whole thing was quite nerve wracking but the speeches were definitely the part I was most anxious about. I think after getting to know the other competitors this really helped with giving the final speech, knowing that they were in the same position as I was. My dad also helped talk me out of the stage fright jitters.

During the competition did you, at any point have a ‘wow I could really win this’ moment?

I think by the end of the competition, I assumed I was in the top half of the competitors. In saying this, it’s really anyone’s game. The competition had a theory section as well as the hands on baking. The theory scores weren’t released until the very end, which kept everyone guessing.

It was so wonderful to see your father up on stage with you when you received first prize. How much has he impacted your baking career?

Honestly, my dad is the main reason why I bake. He’s run the family bakery for many years now and I can remember so many times as a kid going in to help him make pies or cakes. Without his guidance and influence I don’t think I would of had a reason to start baking at all.

Do you have any 5 or 10-year goals you are aiming to achieve when it comes to your baking career?

I think that there is great merit in setting goals, but if you stick too closely to them you can railroad yourself to somewhere you didn’t think you’d end up. That’s why at the moment I’m just focused on working hard and finishing my trade. Maybe someday I’ll take over the family business but that is far into the future, I am keen to keep my options open.

Lastly, what advice would you give to other young bakers looking to be nominated for next years LA Judge awards?

To anyone doing participating in the L.A Judge competition, or any other competition for that matter, I would say just give it everything you’ve got. Practise speaking in front of peers, study hard and just keep working. Most importantly try and enjoy yourself, it is a great experience!

THE UPSIDE-DOWN WORLD OF BAKING

MAURI had the privilege of meeting up with customer, Ian Smith, owner of The Baker’s Corner’ in Brisbane. Ian kindly took time out of his busy schedule to chat to us about his life in the bakery, from his favourite products to the busiest times of the year and everything in between, keep reading for the full interview. 

What is the best part about being a baker? 

I think one of the best parts of my job would be the satisfaction I get out of it, there’s something so rewarding about creating a product from scratch and then watching a customer walk away satisfied with their purchase. The other part of the job, which I really enjoy, is the fact that it is honest work, you can’t cheat people when you’re selling them bread!  

What are your favourite MAURI ranges to use? What types of end products do you create with them?  

As a staple I would say the MAURI Flours, they are just so reliable and consistent which is something so important to any baker. I also love the range of grains products on offer. My favourite product to make with these ranges would have to be a sourdough, whether that be a purple kibbled wheat sourdough or a porridge style sourdough.   

Which are the busiest times of year for you?  

We are actually fast approaching the busiest time of year at the moment. During summer people try to cut back on their carb intake but during the winter period, there is nothing better than a warm soup and some freshly baked bread!  

Do you have any specialty products you like to create for these cold winter months?  

During winter we tend to make heavier rolls, seedier sourdoughs and potato sourdough. Practically anything that goes well with a hearty soup or casserole!   

What does a day in the life of a Baker like you look like? Can you describe your day in two words? 

If I had two words to describe a day in my life, they would have to be upside down. What I mean by this is at 7pm while everyone is relaxing after a long day of work, my day is just beginning. At 8pm I start to prep the products and around midnight the products start to come out of the oven. I usually finish up around 5am, just before the rest of the world is waking up! 

What is your favourite aspect of the MAURI products? 

My absolute favourite thing about the MAURI products would be consistency. The products are so reliable and I always know that I am going to get a consistent and delicious end product.  

Country Cob Bakery wins Australia’s Best Pie for the second year in a row!

MAURI customer, Country Cob Bakery has claimed the title of Australia’s Best Pie 2019 with their win of the ‘Australia’s Best Gourmet Pie’, producing a caramelised pork and pepper pie. Bakery owners Ryan Khun and his brother Chan didn’t stop there, and also took out the ‘Australia’s Best Seafood Pie’ with their curry scallop pie.

Run by the Baking Association of Australia, the competition ran over 3 days from June 9 at the Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne. With over 340 bakeries from across the nation competing as well as more than 1760 pies up for judgement, winning this title for the 2nd year in a row is quite an achievement.

MAURI staff, Jason Fierenzi and Paul Greene were honoured to congratulate Ryan in person. Ryan said that the secret to the best pie is the passion that goes into its creation, “it’s lots of love, lots of care in the product, lots of practice and lots of passion”.

While the competition itself has 12 Industry level judges, the judges that Ryan is more concerned with are those who are working under his own roof. Ryan said, “before we send the pie to the competition, my team are the real judges. They are sure to tell us if something is missing or if we need to add more of this or more of that, we get everyone’s ideas and put it into the pie. I can’t do it without them”.

Country Cobb Bakery may be a small country town business but they have an unbeatable dedication, drive and passion for baking.

If you ever find yourself driving through Kyneton, Victoria, then look no further than Country Cob Bakery to grab a bite of an award winning pie!

Australians everywhere are boosting their ‘Grain Power’

For generations, MAURI has been a passionate advocate for wholesome goodness in baking. As the tastes of Australian families continue to evolve and awareness increases about the importance of ‘Grain Power’ – that is, making better food choices when it comes to our fibre intake and overall gut health – we’re pleased to say we remain very much at the forefront.

In fact, MAURI today boasts one of Australia’s largest and most versatile ranges of wholesome grains and meals.

Good for health, great for taste

Long gone are the days when wholegrain baking meant foods with poor consistency and questionable taste. From breads and pies to cakes and slices, the only limit to what you can now create is your imagination.

The facts about ‘Grain Power’

You don’t have to look far to see why baking with MAURI wholegrains and meals makes so much sense. Here are just some ‘Grain Power’ facts to keep in mind:

  • Grains are the best source of seven key nutrients in Australian diets: fibre, folate, thiamine, iron, magnesium, iodine and carbohydrates1
  • Grain foods provide almost half of the fibre in the Australian diet (44.5%), with the best sources of fibre being breads and breakfast cereals1
  • 40% of Australians say the presence of wholegrains now influences their food purchasing decisions2
  • The increased popularity for wholegrains in the food supply is already being observed on supermarket shelves – a 2017 study revealed that 20 white loaves had been replaced by 20 wholegrain loaves in just three years3.

Like to learn more about MAURI grains and meals? Click here

 

1. ABS. Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Foods and Nutrients, 2011-12. Australian Bureau of Statistics; 2014.
2. Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council. 2017. Consumption & Attitudes Study. Unpublished.
3. Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council. 2017. GLNC Australian Bread Products Audit.

NO TOMATO SAUCE NEEDED: TIPS FROM AN INDUSTRY PIE JUDGE

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with John Maurici to pick his brain on the nitty gritty details of Pie judging, the dos, the don’ts and the must haves.

MAURI: As an industry pie judge, what are the top 3 things you look for in a winning pie?

JOHN: It’s really about the general appearance of the pie but if I had to pick 3 things I would say (1) it must look good enough that I’d want to buy it. (2) There must not be any dirty marks, shrinkage, boil out, egg wash runs or raw pastry (we also check the underside of the product for all of these things). A nice colour with no burnt edges is important as well as a good size. (3) Then the tasting stage; smell, taste, texture and aftertaste. The pie is also checked for stability, that the filling doesn’t run out and that the pastry is cooked right through.

MAURI: How does the judging take place, what does the process look like?

JOHN: Entrants send in four samples of each pie to be judged. At each competition there is a crew out the back who picks out the best three pies for judging. One is cut in half, one is placed in a pie warmer for tasting and the last one stays cold. The half pie is judged for pastry thickness and texture, as well as the amount of meat filling it contains. The judges dig into the half pie with a paddle pop stick to check for gristle and tubing, which indicates offal. Although three pieces of gristle are allowed the pie will lose points as a result of this. Plain meat pies must achieve a mark of 16 or more out of 30 to progress to the tasting stage. If the pie makes it to the testing stage the judges call for the hot pie to be cut into quarters and the pie is tasted by a team of two or three judges. All judging is conducted blind so there is no way to identify the entrant who baked the pie. If a judge thinks that they recognise an entrant’s work they stand down from the team for the judging process.

MAURI: What is your number 1 tip for a baker entering their pie in for judgment?

JOHN: If l only can give 1 tip it would be to always use fresh quality ingredients.

MAURI: Some bakers might be nervous to enter a competition, what advice would you have for these people?

JOHN: There is nothing to be nervous about, don’t hesitate to call your bakery supplier and to ask them for advice or call the pie competition directly. Each pie is professionally judged by 2 – 3 judges who will provide you with comments, so if you’re unsuccessful in winning a medal for your pie you can get feedback on how to improve for next year.

MAURI: You must have tasted hundreds of pies over the years, which flavour is your favourite?

JOHN: That is a really tough question as l have tasted many flavours of pies, but I would have to say a fresh chunky beef pie with a flaky crispy pastry, a firm but soft eating bottom and chunks of beef that melts in your mouth!

NEWS GLOBAL CALL OUT TO TACKLE WATER LOSS IN THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY. CAN YOU HELP?

AB Sugar, in partnership with Water Aid and the Centre for Industrial Sustainability at the University of Cambridge are requesting a global call out for ideas to solve the current water loss crisis involved with irrigation in the agricultural industry.

Making sugar, like any agriculture activity is very water intensive. Many companies and farmers currently have steps in place to conserve water, however the process isn’t moving fast enough, something on a larger scale is needed. Enter the ‘Innovate Irrigation Challenge’.

The challenge seeks to bring people together to stimulate and share new ideas with the aim of having a positive impact on the future of sustainable agriculture. For 48 hours between the 19th and 20th of June, all ideas for ways to preserve water in agriculture can be submitted online HERE.

A panel of expert judges will then select a winner, who will have the chance to work with AB Sugar and their partners to test the potential benefits of their idea as well as the reliability and validity of their submission. The winner will also receive a cash prize of £10,000.

With the increasing threat posed by depletion of water resources, the challenge hopes to stimulate new ideas for a healthier, sustainable future.

To find out more about the challenge click here, LEARN MORE.

Rising up: Australian Baking Industry National Scholarship 2019

Just like a fine loaf of bread, quality always rises. This is why, as part of MAURIs ongoing major sponsorship of the Australian Society of Baking (ABS), were excited to be supporting the next generation of Australian baking once again through the Australian Baking Industry National Scholarship for 2019.   

Expressions of Interest are now open to any young (or young at heart!) Australian with a passion to make a career in baking, with scholarships to be awarded in two categories: (1) bakers aged 18-24 years old; and (2) bakers aged 25 and over.  

Prizes include 8 Regional Scholarships with recipients receiving an all-expenses-paid trip to Queensland. 2 National Scholarships will also be awarded, with the lucky recipients travelling to Paris in 2020 for the baking experience of a lifetime! 

To register, simply download and complete your entry form HERE. 

 Youll then receive your free entry kit – complete with questions, full prize details, handy hints, judging guidelines and the rules & regulations. Good luck! 

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