Making plaques, rolls loaves, pastries and decorating cakes - all against the clock - is challenging enough in a real working environment.

However, when it comes to doing it against rival colleges, and under the scrutiny of the industry’s most esteemed judges, and, to top it all, in front of a live audience, that is real pressure!

But it was also highly exciting and an excellent experience for the teams of student bakers that took part from Tameside College in Manchester, Birmingham College, Brooklands College in Surrey and a team from Norwich. The eventual winner, announced earlier this month at the Association of Bakery Students and Trainees’ conference at Blackpool was Tameside, who took back £2,000.

The whole Future Baker event was supported by California Raisins and the only disappointment, according to marketing director UK and Europe Peter Meadows, was that more colleges did not take part, due, they said, to a lack of lead time.

So colleges please note the next Future Baker awards will take place again at BIE on 21-24 March 2010 and ALL colleges are invited to take part. The rewards? Fun, teamwork, fantastic experience, personal feedback from the judges, a great social life, good personal discipline and the chance to really hone and improve talents.

Student president Simon Solway, of Unifine Food & Bake, praised the hard work of the teams and efforts of the judges, while Dee Cassey from California Raisins said; "I am amazed at the standard of products the students have made. This is a passionate industry and, although I’m not a baker, my own passion for the trade has grown every year. We enjoy supporting students; they are the future of our industry and it is great to see the judges giving them detailed feedback after all the effort the tutors have put into training them."

She added: "On the last day, we had some fun ourselves and competed with a British Baker team. Although the official result was a dead heat, we actually feel we pipped our competitors at the post!"