Young Queensland baker wins LA Judge Award for baking apprentice of the year


Queensland baker Imogen Fearon has been crowned the winner of Australasia’s most prestigious baking competition – the LA Judge Award for baking apprentice of the year.

Since 1967, the LA Judge Award has challenged young apprentice bakers from Australia and New Zealand in a fierce but friendly three-day competition.

Imogen, from Chouquette Patisserie in New Farm, was presented with the coveted LA Judge title at a gala ceremony in Sydney on Thursday, 9 May 2024, presented by AEGIC and Woolworths.

Imogen emerged victorious after three days of intense competition at the AEGIC Sydney Pilot Bakery between 7-9 May.

Thanks to baking and ingredients company Puratos, Imogen will enjoy an all-expenses-paid journey to Belgium. Over a week, Imogen will train with Puratos in bread and patisserie baking, and explore the Centre for Bread Flavour, the Sourdough Library and more.

Runner-up, Connor Beisler from Dungog Barrington Bakery in NSW, will receive $1500 cash, plus two days training with Puratos in Sydney, including accommodation.

The other contenders, Ryan Wu (Vic), Dylan Gianetti, (WA) and Dylan Price (Tas) will also receive Puratos training in Sydney.

LA Judge Award Director Dr Ken Quail congratulated all the 2024 LA Judge Award competitors.

“All the competitors are winners simply by participating in what is a friendly but very challenging competition,” he said.

“All the 2024 competitors did themselves, their trainers and their bakeries proud.

“Congratulations to Imogen, who was outstanding across the various aspects of competition. Imogen’s excellent skills and attention to detail gave her the edge over her fellow competitors.”

The LA Judge Award is organised and hosted by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) to support the Australian industry and identify future industry leaders.

Since 1967, the LA Judge Award has welcomed young apprentice bakers aspiring to make their mark on the industry. The contest encompasses all aspects of baking, from hands-on baking proficiency and technical acumen to presentation skills.

“The LA Judge Award is often a life-changing experience for young bakers to develop their skills and make important connections in the baking industry,” Dr Quail said.

Dr Quail said the LA Judge Award relies on the support of industry sponsors.

2024 sponsors: Puratos (Major sponsor and prize sponsor), Woolworths (Gala Dinner sponsor), Major Sponsors: Allied Pinnacle, Australian Bakels, Bakers Delight, Lesaffre Australia Pacific, The Manilda Group, MAURI, National Baking Industry Association (NBIA), plus ADM and Azelis.

2024 candidates:

  • Connor Beisler, Dungog Barrington Bakery, NSW
  • Ryan Wu, Eat Cannoli, Preston, VIC
  • Dylan Price, Banjos, Launceston, TAS
  • Imogen Fearon, Chouquette Patisserie, New Farm, QLD
  • Dylan Gianetti, Coles, Southern River, WA.

Photo: 2024 LA Judge Award winner Imogen Fearon

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