Gumnut Patisserie and TAFE producing a pot of baking talent

Picture (L-R): Tracy Nickl, Samantha Trotter and Vicki Nickl

A little melting pot of talent has emerged at the Gumnut Patisserie in Mittagong with another one of their apprentices receiving a national award within the space of two months.

Local Southern Highlands student, Samantha Trotter received the Pastry National Award at the recent National Winner of Excellence in Baking 2016 awards night held at Ultimo TAFE.

Living and working in Mittagong, 20-year-old Samantha relishes the encouragement and support from her personal mentors and bosses, Tracy and Vicki Nickl.

“They just have so much knowledge and skills. There’s nothing Tracy or Vicki give you that they wouldn’t be prepared to do themselves,” says Samantha.

“They are really great people.”

Samantha has had a life-long love of desserts and started her Hospitality career as a high school student at TAFE NSW Illawarra Cooma.

With one year to go in her apprenticeship, she has successfully completed the Certificate III in Retail Baking (Combined) study component at Wollongong this year.

“I met a lot of really great people at TAFE, it is really helpful to meet so many people in the industry. It’s also good to have the room to train,” she says.

Peter Hood, Hospitality Head Teacher, worked with Samantha for the past three months in the lead-up to the competition and is not surprised by her talent.

“It starts with her employers who constantly challenge their apprentices’ to do their best; they consistently work hard to achieve really good outcomes for themselves,” says Peter.

“We have been helping her to develop her skills and realise her full potential.”

Samantha’s award comes hot off the heels of her colleague, Troy Hindmarch winning Gold in the Retail-Baking Pastry category at the WorldSkills Australia National Competition, beating the country’s best bakers.