I have had the privilege of working with MPI for some years on the BIANZ food control plan. Now, this is up and running, my new portfolio is Training. How exciting is this now that we have GOVT subsidies for training in our industry? I have a workforce of around 35, and like a lot of bakery business owners, we struggle most times to find skilled people, bakers mainly, so we must as an industry get motivated, and start training.
I will be upskilling myself on what is, and what will be, on offer to employers. So please do not hesitate to contact me for more information and a friendly chat.
As well as running the business, I also completed a Level 4 craft baking course and passed my Bakels/Richemont (Advanced confectionery, bread and pastry) course.
I have been participating in baking competitions since 2008 where I have won many awards.
In June 2019 I became an executive member of BIANZ. I am very happy to have the chance of sharing my ideas and knowledge with the baking industry that I have always loved.
This year celebrates my 34th year as the owner, with my wife Wendy, of Michael’s Bakery in Hillmorton in Christchurch, which we opened on August 8, 1986.
While the bakery has always been a busy role, I discovered some years ago that I love to teach the art of good baking and share my knowledge with future bakers. I have taught baking to both apprentice bakers and fulltime students for 20 years at ARA Institute of Technology, as well as for NZ Bakels Training School for the past four years. Teaching and learning are passions of mine. I’m always trying to improve techniques in baking, while also working on how to improve and grow our family bakery business.
As part of that, it’s important to put yourself to the test in what you do. Being judged against your peers in competitions helps you improve your business, and it also reinforces that you are achieving a high standard when you get a good result. Michael’s Bakery has competed in several national competitions over the years and continues to do so with our most recent result, placing third in the Bakels Legendary Sausage Roll competition in October 2020. We won gold in the Gourmet Meat category of the 2008 Bakels NZ Supreme Pie Awards and first place in the Great New Zealand Hot Cross Bun competition in 2019.
For me, and our team at Michael’s Bakery, entering competitions helps us perfect ideas that will improve our products for our customers and it drives the passion that is needed in baking. There is nothing nice about getting up at 3 am!
I’m a strong believer in continuing to learn and upskill throughout life otherwise you can become ‘stale’ and your business can suffer. So for me, that meant going back to school. In 2013, I completed a Bachelor in Business, majoring in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Essentially this study was more about proving to myself that what I have learnt in business has merit; but it also felt good to prove to all those teachers at high school, who thought and said I would not achieve, that they were wrong!
Industry Training & Competitions
I’m the current Bakery Tutor at ARA Institute of Canterbury and have been in that role for the past seven years now, previously I worked in a range of bakeries from small craft to large in-store bakeries.
I have a huge passion for the noble art of baking and feel extremely privileged to be in the position I am in. I take great pride in teaching my students our wonderful trade and always relate my teaching to be as industry relative as possible, and will continue to do that for as long as I am in this role.
I left school at 17 knowing I was always going to work with food and nearly became a chef! Luckily, I got a job as a baker’s assistant and was employed by some of New Zealand’s best bakers. From there my passion grew, and I spent six years working in a range of bakeries in Melbourne gaining experience and honing my skills before returning home to start a family.
I have three beautiful boys aged 9, 7 and 3 and a wonderful wife who has been by my side for the last 21 years.
My other passion is the outdoors, and when not focusing on family or work, I can be found roaming the hills looking for a deer or walking up a river in search of that trophy trout.