World Skills Awardee Brendon Woodward spent an incredible seven weeks travelling across Europe improving his baking skills. From Glasgow to Paris, Brendon worked with experts in his chosen field and mastered new techniques, while experiencing new cultures along the way. Read Brendon’s full report of his trip here, or browse some excerpts below.
“Going overseas to learn and work wasn’t something that was of immediate interest to me up until September 2016. I was competing in a national baking competition that had a 1st prize of a trip to Paris! It was a team competition and we were confident of winning, but as it turned out, finished 2nd. That really lit a spark to want to go abroad.
I wanted to learn and see in person that quality of bakeries and patisseries around the world, especially France. I wanted to learn more about sourdough and long fermentation breads and also visit patisseries. Patisserie is something that I have wanted to learn and since arriving home I have followed up on that.”
“I attended the Scottish Bakers Conference in my first week of being in the UK. It was held in Glasgow and had speakers from bakeries around the UK as well as speakers with a business point of view. One of the talks that really stood out for me was from a motivational speaker and he talked about having 5 seconds of courage. Having 5 seconds of courage to go ask the question, to go talk to someone, to introduce yourself, to start something. It seemed like that talk was tailored to my whole trip, being in places where I didn’t know anyone or much about anything.
Whilst I was in Glasgow I made the short trip to Edinburgh Castle. All through my travels I was amazed at the history each country has and how it is still visible with castles, palaces, buildings and monuments – the opposite of Australia. I tried to travel around as much as I could and make sure I was seeing more than just bakeries/patisseries. I stayed in 17 hotels in 49 nights!”
“Lesaffre along with Puratos were the 2 highlights of my work experience. Being international companies the quality and knowledge of the bakers was something to aspire to. My Lesaffre visit was organised through Lesaffre Australia, they also have a strong presence in Australia. The company is based around yeast but also have products for all applications of baking.
The training was one day in Lille, France, working with one of their international bakers. The day was based around French bread and the products that were specific to regions in France. Baguettes, brioche, croissants, sourdough and cramique were all baked and devoured! True to what you expect of French baking, there was plenty of butter and sugar used!
I spent 5 nights in Paris but could have ex spent my whole trip here. It was more than I thought it could ever be. The quality of the patisseries was incredible. The standards were so much higher than Australia. I spent most my time feeling full from constantly eating, every place I went to I had to try something. I lost track of how many macarons and eclairs I ate. Paris was without a doubt the highlight of my trip and has definitely inspired me to learn patisserie.”