Bakers rising to top at North Coast National

ONE wouldn't have been foolish to have mistaken the Italo-Australian Club in North Lismore of preparing for a religious festival yesterday with more than 600 loaves of bread being broken at the club.

While it wasn't a last supper, it was a day that celebrated something that is a religion for some people - baking.

The 53rd Annual for the North Coast National Baking Show was judged yesterday as part of the preparations for the 2013 North Coast National.The competition, which is open to all bakers, apprentice bakers and pastry chefs, sees bread lovers compete in categories for sandwich loaves, baguettes and other sweet treats.

Event co-ordinator Kevin Bowden said loaves were assessed on their appearance, structure and aroma. Only cakes and speciality loaves are tasted for judging.

"These sorts of competitions are important for the trade and the staff coming through," Mr Bowden said. "In this industry, competitions like this see bakers putting their pride on the line."

One of the judges of the competition was North Coast Baking Industry Association member support officer Scott Cureton.

Mr Cureton said he had been to four baking shows this year and the bakers on the Northern Rivers take the cake when it comes to baking competitions.

"The product I've seen today has been very good," Mr Cureton said. "Compared to the other shows I've been to, the overall quality is above what I've seen nationally."

When asked about the future of competitions such as the Baking Show, Mr Cureton said he wasn't hoping for much of a rise in entrants over the coming years.

"Unfortunately, it's just one of those things that is dying out and I think that's a sign of the times," Mr Cureton said. "However, it's really important for us to promote shows like this to the public so that people in this industry can get recognition for what they do."

Grand Champion wholemeal condensed loaf was awarded to Wayne Faulkner from Brumby's Bakery in Ballina and runner up went to Allan Johnston from Lismore Central Woolworths. The bread and cakes not eaten during judging will be used in the kiosk at the North Coast National.

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