September 6th, 2012
Training a winning team
If you’re in the know about New Zealand’s baking industry, you will have heard of Viands Bakery in Kihikihi, just south of Te Awamutu. Since buying the business nearly two years ago, husband and wife team Shane and Kathy Kearns have driven Viands to success – winning both the Bakery of the Year and the Bakels Supreme Pie Award two years running.
But such a feat was not achieved alone; Kathy says Viand’s success is down to team work and great communication. And what you may not know is that two of the five full time members of the Viands team are currently completing their apprenticeships.
[caption id="attachment_4218" align="aligncenter" width="259" caption="Viands - apprentices Josh & Jess"]
Josh Harding, who has nearly finished his craft baking apprenticeship
, started his qualification under the management of Viands previous owners. But Jess Van Kempen, who also worked for the previous owners, had no formal baking training until Kathy entered the scene and encouraged her into studying for the National Certificate in Baking (Level 3)
“I wanted to see Jess train because I saw how talented she was – she had that creativity and flare but she didn’t believe in herself,” says Kathy.
“It wasn’t until Jess started her training and helped us win the 2012 Bakery of the Year award that she started gaining confidence in her ability. This was the first competition Jess had participated in and she won Viands silver medals for her macaroon tower and citron tart.”
But Jess isn’t the only one shining in competitions; Josh recently made the final nine in the esteemed Weston Milling Trainee of the Year – another worthy achievement for the small town bakery.
Shane and Kathy, who each come from families of bakers, also started out their careers as apprentices – working for Gillgrens Bakery in Gisborne, where Shane’s Uncle and Aunt and Kathy’s parents were in partnership.
But these days the duo are passing on their skills and knowledge to their young employees – and their collection of awards would suggest the training has paid off!