Bakery awards for Gisborne students

BREAD WINNERS: EIT bakery students Vera Wilson and Mokaraka Hokianga are award-winners after taking out gold and bronze respectively at the Hawke’s Bay Salon Awards. They are pictured with EIT bakery tutor Mark Morrell. Picture supplied

A passion for natural bread is beginning to reap awards for Vera Wilson, one of two EIT bakery students to put themselves on the culinary map at the Hawke’s Bay Salon Awards.

Vera and Mokaraka Hokianga both won their divisions, Vera the bakery and Mokaraka the specialty diet challenge.

Vera’s breads earned her a gold medal. They featured a sourdough brioche with chocolate and cherries, lean bread infused with caraway and fennel from Okitu, and a flat bread made from spent grain from Sunshine Brewery.

Mokaraka was awarded a bronze for broth she made from the organic kumara, grown by her father George Hokianga, which she infused with chilli and lemongrass.

The awards are making them star students of EIT Tairawhiti’s new bakery programme, run for the first time in Gisborne.

Vera plans to do the level 5 programme next year. Formerly the owner of Vera’s Cafe in Peel Street, she has always had a passion for making sourdough bread.

“These breads are naturally fermented and leavened, having no additives, commercial yeast, stabilisers or preservatives, which is making them increasingly popular with health-conscious people.”

Having a lower glycaemic index and a higher level of probiotics, she describes sourdough bread as “a hug for your gut”.

She has been running workshops on making sourdough bread and has taught 240 people in Gisborne how to make their own.

Vera came to New Zealand from the Czech Republic 15 years ago, wanting a better life for her children. With her daughter now studying medicine and her son qualified in computer technology, she decided it was time to pursue her own career.

Leading the workshops made her realise how much she enjoyed teaching, and it was this that led her to EIT to gain qualifications she needed.

Mokaraka decided to enrol for the programme after developing a growing passion for health and wellbeing, leading her to a strong interest in veganism. Her aim is to operate her own cafe-style restaurant. The bakery qualification would be an “extra tool in my kete”.

She entered the cooking competitions on the spur of the moment and was not expecting to top her division. Her recipe was designed for vegans and people allergic to gluten, and she was delighted the judges enjoyed it.

Bakery tutor Mark Morrell was delighted with the results. It was the first time EIT Tairawhiti had taken local students to compete in the cooking competitions, although last year Eden Dawson, who is now completing the level 5 patisserie course in Hawke’s Bay, won a gold in the static cake division.

The competition gave the Gisborne students a great opportunity to collaborate with students and staff in Hawke’s Bay.

A passion for natural bread is beginning to reap awards for Vera Wilson, one of two EIT bakery students to put themselves on the culinary map at the Hawke’s Bay Salon Awards.

Vera and Mokaraka Hokianga both won their divisions, Vera the bakery and Mokaraka the specialty diet challenge.

Vera’s breads earned her a gold medal. They featured a sourdough brioche with chocolate and cherries, lean bread infused with caraway and fennel from Okitu, and a flat bread made from spent grain from Sunshine Brewery.

Mokaraka was awarded a bronze for broth she made from the organic kumara, grown by her father George Hokianga, which she infused with chilli and lemongrass.

The awards are making them star students of EIT Tairawhiti’s new bakery programme, run for the first time in Gisborne.

Vera plans to do the level 5 programme next year. Formerly the owner of Vera’s Cafe in Peel Street, she has always had a passion for making sourdough bread.

“These breads are naturally fermented and leavened, having no additives, commercial yeast, stabilisers or preservatives, which is making them increasingly popular with health-conscious people.”

Having a lower glycaemic index and a higher level of probiotics, she describes sourdough bread as “a hug for your gut”.

She has been running workshops on making sourdough bread and has taught 240 people in Gisborne how to make their own.

Vera came to New Zealand from the Czech Republic 15 years ago, wanting a better life for her children. With her daughter now studying medicine and her son qualified in computer technology, she decided it was time to pursue her own career.

Leading the workshops made her realise how much she enjoyed teaching, and it was this that led her to EIT to gain qualifications she needed.

Mokaraka decided to enrol for the programme after developing a growing passion for health and wellbeing, leading her to a strong interest in veganism. Her aim is to operate her own cafe-style restaurant. The bakery qualification would be an “extra tool in my kete”.

She entered the cooking competitions on the spur of the moment and was not expecting to top her division. Her recipe was designed for vegans and people allergic to gluten, and she was delighted the judges enjoyed it.

Bakery tutor Mark Morrell was delighted with the results. It was the first time EIT Tairawhiti had taken local students to compete in the cooking competitions, although last year Eden Dawson, who is now completing the level 5 patisserie course in Hawke’s Bay, won a gold in the static cake division.

The competition gave the Gisborne students a great opportunity to collaborate with students and staff in Hawke’s Bay.

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