It’s a Great Pastry Life @ WS08
Tracy Nickl, Pastry Chef, offers his insights into the world of pastry chefs at the WorldSkills Nationals in Sydney 2008.
He shows us Kathleen Parker, who shows us the National Competitors in the industry. As a judge, he outlines what the competitors are doing, what is working, and what, as a judge, he looks for.
Tracy says that the minimum skills he gives his apprentices is to go to WorldSkills Nationals.
Tracy shares his advice for people considering entering the hospitality industry, and the benefits of the industry.
About Hospitality (Pastry Cooking) at Worldskills:
There are only 4 competitors in the pastry category this year.
Day 1 tasks – Fruit flans and fruit tartlets, mousse shape in any design, 24 decorated small fancies (cakes).
Day 2 tasks – Chocolate work, 24 hand dipped covered chocolates, produce from scratch a chocolate centre piece to fit the theme ‘The Sea’, using 400g marzipan icing create two identical objects to fit the theme ‘The Sea’.
Day 3 task -- to create, out of 5kgs of sugar, a suitable centre piece for ‘The Sea’ theme.
Tracy was walking past a patisserie when he was 13 when the owner stopped him and asked if he wanted a part time job. Tracy only thought of it as a way to earn some pocket money. The apprentice at that patisserie competed at the WorldSkills competition in Sydney 1988 and won. Tracy went to watch him compete and was in awe. The owner encouraged Tracy to take up an apprenticeship and he did.
When Tracy was 21 he went on to compete in the 1993 WorldSkills event and won. He then travelled and worked in many different environments till he decided to head to Wollongong and open up his own business – Gumnut Patisserie.
Tracy says he did his apprenticeship in an old school environment and that it’s an old skill that’s disappearing. A couple of years after developing his business, Tracy started taking apprentices on. He has 12 apprentices and takes a new one on each year. Part of the training and development for his apprentices is being part of the WorldSkills event.
Tracy expects them to compete at a national level. He also focuses on business and personal development, business management and dealing with people. Tracy always goes to the WorldSkills event to offer support and check on the competition and the standard. He finds anyone skilled in a profession fascinating. He takes his whole team of apprentices and will be bringing them all up to Sydney this year.