2023 LA Judge Award - supported by NBIA

L.A. Judge Award 2023

The NBIA would like to congratulate Bjarke Svendsgaard for winning the 2023 LA Judge Award.

“A big congratulations to Bjarke, who performed consistently well across the competition. Bjarke’s skills in baking, theory, and presentation were all exceptional,” said Dr Ken Quail.

During the second week of May, the NBIA attended and supported the 2023 LA Judge Award held by AEGIC in their Sydney facility. This competition is held annually and is known as the most prestigious competition in the industry for young bakers.

The LA judge Award is a fast-paced competition that takes place over three days and includes exams, presentations, and practical assessments. Although it is a challenge for the young bakers participating each one rises to the occasion with great confidence and in general with a smile on their face. Each contestant is considered a winner by making it to the competition.

“Being selected for this competition is a great accomplishment. All the talented candidates pushed themselves, gave their best and performed extremely well in what is a fun, but pretty tough contest. They all did themselves, their trainers, and their bakeries proud, said Dr Ken Quail.

2023 LA Judge Award Competitors

Daniel with his bread plaque

Daniel Blackburn

Creative Crusts

Jackson with his bread plaque

Jackson Kiely

Western Australia

Bjarke with his bread plaque of the Richmond Bridge in Tasmania

Bjarke Svendsgaard

Olivers Latrobe Cafe Bakery

Damien with his bread plaque

Damien Witting

Salus Bakery

This years bread plaque theme was Australian landmarks. L to R: Richmond Bridge (Tasmania), Opera House (Sydney), Flinders Street Station (Melbourne), and the Australian War Memorial (Canberra).

One contestant is nominated from each Australian state/territory and New Zealand making a total possibility of nine competitors. Four competitors were nominated for the 2023 LA Judge Award including Bjarke Svendsgaard from Olivers Latrobe Café Bakery in Tasmania, Jackson Kiely from Coles in Western Australia, Daniel Blackburn from Creative Crusts in Queensland, and Damien Witting from Salus Bakery in Victoria. The competition was tough and the result extremely close with Bjarke coming in first place followed very closely by Jackson in second place.

The 2023 LA Judge Award judges included Brad Hewitt (Lesaffre Australia Pacific), Tristan Beisler (2019 Award winner and baker at Baked Uprising), and Shane Dennehy (Trainer Assessor at TAFE NSW). Judges for the LA Judge Award are required to observe contestants in each of task and provide a score for each criterion.

This year’s competition began with a five-minute introductory presentation to the judges and Dr Ken Quail (LA Judge Award Director). From this presentation a topic is chosen to be prepared for their second presentation that is delivered on the morning of the final day. This is followed by their first theory exam Production Planning, their first practical assessment rolls and plaits, and the Bread Faults Exam. After lunch the competitors are inducted in the AEGIC Pilot Bakery and given the task of designing and producing a bread plaque with an Australian theme. As you can see each day is extremely busy for the competitors.

Dr Ken Quail said AEGIC was proud to foster innovation among young bakers and encourage them to push the baking industry forward. “This event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young bakers to develop their talents and make important connections with industry leaders. Winners and competitors often go on to achieve great things in the industry,” he said.

Day two of the 2023 LA Judge Award Competition begins with a fun photoshoot to show off all the great merch received from sponsors and to thank them for their support. This is followed by the Practical Baking Exercise and six exams. Day three finishes off the competition with the candidate’s presentation about the topic chosen for them by the judges on day one and a master class. This year’s master class gave the competitors a chance to work very closely with the judges and learn from their expertise.

The 2023 LA Judge Award Gala Dinner and winner announcement was held at Cockle Bay Dockside on the evening of the final day. This event was attended by more than 200 industry bakers and suppliers and is an awesome opportunity for the young bakers to network and meet industry stakeholders. This year’s attendees also had the privilege of listening to guest speaker Nic Feteris, Extreme Adventurer talk about his sky diving career. Overall, a delightful night of good food and great company was had by all.