Luddenham Apprentice Wins Trip to France in National Baking Championship


In a stunning achievement, Luddenham’s Carla Penza has been crowned National Champion at the Bake Skills Fine Foods Festival held at the ICC in Darling Harbor in September. The festival, held from September 10 to 12, saw Carla dazzle judges with her extraordinary skills and impeccable creations.

“The Bake Skills Fine Food Festival was the national round for the competition. Prior to this, I competed in a regional round in early July. Winning the regional round, I then progressed onto the national. There was quite a lot involved in this competition. Certain criteria needed to be met for each product regarding size and particular brands of products supplied by the sponsors,” explained Carla.

Over the intense three-day competition, Carla skilfully created a diverse range of items, including Mille Feuille, Paree Brest, Eclairs, Profiteroles, Seafood pies, Vol-au-vents, and sweet tarts. She also showcased her expertise with palmiers, cheesecakes, mousse entremets, and a unique specialty cake.

Winning an all-expenses paid trip to France for 6 days, Carla’s achievement ensures she will get a chance to immerse herself in the French culinary scene while attending Sirha Europain, an exhibition for bakery and pastry professionals in France. “All the extra hours of training, the tears, and the constant feedback from my employers has all paid off. I’m still in disbelief,” said Carla.

Beyond this illustrious win, Carla also garnered attention in late September, being awarded the RAS (Royal Agricultural Society) Award for Champion Apprentice Student. “The RAS Award is held in conjunction with the Sydney Royal Easter Show. For this competition, I entered petite fours,” Carla explained. Her entries included Passionfruit Meringue Tartlets, Opera Slice, and Strawberry, Pistachio, and Rhubarb Tartlets.

Looking ahead, Carla is eager to continue learning, absorbing, and exploring the trade as there are endless possibilities to gain from such a massive industry. “It has taken me a lot to get to where I am today in my career. I just want to thank everyone who has supported me in any way shape or form to get me where I am today,” Carla ended.

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