Larissa takes the cake
A Palmerston North woman has been named one of New Zealand's best apprentice bakers.
UCOL student Larissa Rzoska, 38, is one of nine people selected for the annual Weston Milling competition to find the best apprentice baker in the country.
The mother-of-two will join the other eight finalists at a two-day training course with baking professionals in Napier next week, before heading to Auckland for the final bake-off at the Fine Food Show on June 18-19.
Ms Rzoska grew up watching her mother bake, and decided to enrol in UCOL's Certificate in Bakery and Pastry level 3 in Palmerston North, where she is still studying.
"I was trained at the kitchen bench with Mum," she said.
"I was brought up on a farm and baking was what we did. We never had bought biscuits. Now it's one of my greatest pleasures that my own 11-year-old daughter is learning from me at the kitchen bench. She loves it and she's already talking about following me into the formal training at UCOL."
To make the top nine apprentice bakers, Ms Rzoska baked a three-braided white loaf, a fruit strudel and an American chocolate brownie.
"The entry conditions are quite strict for competitions like this. For example, the brownies had to be a specific size and cut a certain way."
She then had to courier her baking creation to Auckland for judging.
At the final bake-off next month, she will have to bake a cake, a pastry, a loaf of bread and a Weston Milling product.
Ms Rzoska hopes to get a job in a small Palmerston North bakery once she has completed the certificate.