Canberra's Best Bread Secrets Revealed
Published: 19 Feb 2016
As one of the oldest crafts in the world practised across cultures over thousands of years, the basics of bread-making is no great secret.
However, as the annual ActewAGL Royal Canberra Bread Show approaches, apprentice bakers and professionals alike are keeping their personal recipes for a prize loaf close to their chests in a bid to outshine their fellow competitors.
Anthony Mudge, Head of Department for CIT Culinary Skills says it's an important opportunity due to the unique nature of the competition.
"The Royal Canberra Bread Show is really the only opportunity afforded to bakers in the region, both apprentices and professionals, to showcase their skills and technique along with their peers," Mr Mudge says.
"The event is highly successful at engaging the majority of local baking businesses. The scale of industry participation means the event is a good opportunity for job seekers to explore retail baking as a career pathway."
This year, the show is expected to attract almost 500 individual bread entries.
Expert baker and CIT teacher Dammika Hatharasinghe has been involved with the bread show since its inception, sharing his bread knowledge with organisers to support the event.
"I enjoy seeing young apprentices enter the competition to further their skills and test these against each other. It improves the standard of the baking trade in the ACT and surrounding region.
"A prize at the show is highly valued as it is one of the most prestigious open competitions for apprentices and professional bakers alike," Mr Hatharasinghe says.
For the first time a CIT Challenge Cup will be presented among the major prizes for apprentices, which Mr Hatharasinghe expects will be "hotly contested".
Mr Hatharisinghe is very familiar with the competition environment, but as a teacher, he no longer holds onto his baking secrets: he will share his knowledge, and beloved CIT kitchens, with anyone who wants to learn.
Many entrants in this year's bread show - apprentices and professionals alike - will trickle through the CIT kitchens in the lead up to the competition to test their recipes.
"We have the best facilities right here: I'm very at home in these kitchens. Anyone is welcome, as long as they clean up after themselves," he says.
This generosity extends to his teaching philosophy.
"I think by teaching you never lose anything - if you pass on your skill, you double it," he says.
The 2016 ActewAGL Royal Canberra Bread Show takes place 26-28 February 2016 in Harvest Hall, Fitzroy Pavilion, Exhibition Park in Canberra.
Sam Durrell, Haiden Borgo, Dammika Hatharasinghe and Jamie Clarke in the CIT kitchens.