Lesley Foottit reports from the Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees’ (ABST’s) annual conference 2014, which saw the AGM, prizes awarded and plenty of opportunities for students to network with industry professionals.


The Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees (ABST) celebrated its 84th annual conference at Alton Towers over the weekend as it welcomed new members and planned more international representation.

Newcastle College, Cooplands trainees and Reaseheath College in Cheshire joined the organisation this year, with numbers up 15% year-on-year. Members now comprise 305 students and trainees across 16 training providers, compared with 219 from 13 providers in 2013.

Outgoing president Ian Dobbie passed the chains to president elect Neil Woods, who will take the seat for the coming year, while Zeelandia managing director David Amos is the new president elect.

A year-long strategic review has started to “check the organisation is going in the right direction”. Almost 300 members gathered at Alton Towers to spend the weekend among peers.

Dobbie said: “We now have wider representation of colleges and I have thoroughly enjoyed my very worthwhile experience as president. I am pleased to see ABST working more closely with the Craft Bakers’ Association – organisations work better when joined up together.”

International reach

General secretary for the ABST Matthew May said: “I think an international influence will always be a good thing, because the students can learn from others. I want the students to meet people in the industry and gain an impartial view to make decisions about where they want to go in their careers. This is the only real opportunity for industry and students to meet and build relationships.

Award winners
Competition entries were up by more than 200 year-on-year, with 30 judges on hand to pick the winners from more than 3,000 entered products. Four live competitions ran across four categories: royal icing; bread modelling; marzipan modelling; and cookies. In total, 27 awards were given out including in a new sourdough category.

The Founders Cup team award was won by University College Birmingham (UCB), the Horton trophy went to Harry Barber of UCB and the President’s Cup went to Michael Denton of newcomer member Cooplands.

As the winner, Denton will help make rolls to be served at the Baking Industry Awards 2014 at the Park Lane Hilton, London in September. See below for all the winners and click here for details of the runners-up.

The winners:

The Bakery Trainee Challenge Trophy
Mica Cook, Blackpool & the Fylde College

The Horton Trophy
Harry Barber, UCB

The Founders Cup – team competition
Decorated Battenburg - Danielle Brennan, UCB
Scones - Rohima Malik
Puff pastry - Harry Barber
Bloomer - Nathan Harrison

Other Section Winners
Decorated Battenburg - Matthew Griffith, NPTC
Scones - Emily Woodhouse, NPTC

The President’s Cup - Combined Class
Michael Denton, Cooplands

The Novice’s Cup - Combined Class
Harry Barber, UCB
Best Swiss Roll Harry Barber, UCB
Best Bread William Bowen, UCB

The Blandy Cup
Elizabeth Parkinson, NPTC

The Celebration Cupcake Challenge
Kieron Murphy, Leeds

The Renshaw Decorative Class – Regal-ice Birthday Cake
Justine Talbot, Brooklands

Carved Novelty Cake Class (Frank Webster Trophy)
Kayleigh Holden, Blackpool & the Fylde College

The Goldex Cup - Floral Sugar Craft
Carlene Bagot, Brooklands

The Devon Rose Bowl - Lightly fruited cake
Caroline Crudden, DIT

Callebaut Chocolates
Rebecca Hole, London South Bank University

The British Confectioner’s Award - Best Overall Confectionery Item
Elizabeth Parkinson Blandy, NPTC

The Masters Cup - Coburg, Wholemeal Tin & 4 strand Plait
Mary Graham, Blackpool & the Fylde College (all three)

The British Society Of Baking Trophy - 800g White Tin Loaf
Caroline Mellor, Sheffield College

The Sourdough Challenge Trophy - Pain au Levain
Fillippo Salvaggio, Tameside College

The Warburtons Challenge Trophy - Fruit Loaf
Charlotte Heappey, UCB

The Mandy Wansell Trophy - 4 Danish Pastries
Rachel Kippax, Sheffield College

The Masters Award - Best Overall Fermented Item
Natalie Wood, Blackpool

The British Bakels Award - 4 Healthy Eating Muffins/Cereal Bars
Kieron Murphy, Leeds

The Innovation Trophy - One fermented product
Charlotte Donelly, UCB

3D - Dough Art Display
Dylan Carroll, Limerick

The Victory Challenge Trophy - 6 Decorated Biscuits - Live
Amanda Brooks, Tameside College

The IBB Live Piping - Royal Icing
Elizabeth Parkinson, NPTC

Marzipan Modelling - 3 Models - Live
Kayleigh Holden, Blackpool & the Fylde College

The Wrights Trophy - Dead dough display piece - Live
Matthew Haynes, London South Bank University

Lob the cob
The famous lobbing of the cob took place again on the Saturday before prizes were awarded. The winning shot is below.

Next year
The conference has been held at Alton Towers for seven years, due to popular demand and despite rising costs. Drayton Manor Park was mooted as another option for next year, but students unanimously voted for a repeat in Staffordshire and on either the same or previous weekend in June.

The board will continue to look at other venue options in the interests of saving costs for both the ABST and the students.

The theme picked for next year’s fancy dress evening is Heroes and Villains.