Brumby’s Baker and product specialist Donna Elton has had a year to remember in 2016.
The acclaimed baker took the cake this year, winning the Certificate of Excellence at the 2016 Australian Baking Industry Scholarship Awards, and taking first place in the Savoury Hospitality Bread Category at the 2016 King of the Bakers Show.
While she wasn’t winning the praise of the Australian baking scene, Donna also appeared on Foxtel’s Great Australian Bake Off and Channel 7’s The Franchise Show as a Brumby’s ambassador.
Recently, Donna sat down with My Brisbane Times to chat about all things Brumby’s and baking.
Q: Tell us about your work and what you do. What is it about baking that you love?
A: I have always been a keen foodie but I started baking officially 18 years ago when I commenced my apprenticeship. I jumped in head first, with passion and excitement, and I haven’t looked back since.
I have been lucky enough to enjoy a lot of experience in the industry, in various roles, but one of the things I have enjoyed the most about working for Brumby’s has been facilitating their training program for new franchisees. It focuses not only on the craft of baking and the techniques involved, but also on the upskilling of bakers in the Brumby’s system.
My favourite thing about baking in general is the feeling of accomplishment it engenders. It’s such a rewarding experience to walk into a bakery with nothing on the shelves and BOOM, eight hours later, the community is purchasing our fresh, handcrafted Brumby’s products from their local store.
Q: You recently won the Certificate of Excellence in the 2016 Australian Baking Industry Scholarship Awards. What was that experience like?
A: Being recognised in the 2016 Australian Baking Industry Scholarship Awards was an absolute honour and a genuinely rewarding experience. I am grateful for the opportunities it has presented me and the exposure it has granted to industry professionals and other like-minded individuals, from all around Australia.
I will definitely be entering the awards again next year, not only because I always strive to challenge myself and set new goals, but also because I have my heart set on winning a regional award.
Q: For the Scholarship Awards, you wrote an essay on the gamification of online learning tools for training. Can you tell us about your research on that?
A: The essay I wrote was predominately based on my own experiences. Throughout my career in the hospitality industry I have been both on the receiving end, and responsible for the delivery of, relevant industry information, and I believe that in going forward, technology will play an integral role in this dissemination of information. More specifically, I think gamification is the future of our industry!
Q: What are your favourite foods to bake?
A: As a baker, I consider myself as an all-rounder. I enjoy conceptualising new recipes and experimenting with new flavour combinations, but there’s also something really rewarding about perfecting old recipes. Some of my favourites at the moment are the Brumby’s Authentic Sourdough, Turkish Bread and Rosemary, Garlic & Sea Salt Pane de Casa.
Q: Having been to invited to feature on shows like the Great Australian Bake Off and The Franchise Show, what’s next in your career for 2017?
A: I’m sure 2017 will be full of surprises and opportunities and I look forward to embracing whatever comes my way. I have recently started a new position within the RFG family as product developer for Gloria Jean’s Coffees and while it is a step away from baking, it still involves the creativity and insight that I love about working in the food innovation industry, and I look forward to supporting the GJC team with future developments.
©My Brisbane Times