Country patisserie beats 5,000 competitors to win Australia’s premier food award

A country patisserie that designed some of its own equipment, produces near-zero waste, and invests heavily in apprentices has won the President’s Medal at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.Key points:Gumnut Patisserie, with stores in Bowral, Berrima, and Mittagong, wins the President’s MedalIt’s considered Australia’s premier food award due to the judging rigour and the spread of entries across AustraliaIt was recognised for great food and reducing waste to just one per centGumnut Patisserie from the Southern Highlands of New South Wales beat 5,000 entries judged by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW to win Australia’s premier food award.Owner Tracy Nickl is proud of his company’s win.”Here we make classical pastries, the best you’ll ever try,” he said.The medal is considered Australia’s premier food award due to the rigour of the judging process and the spread of entries across Australia.Sustainability a key criteriaJudge Michael Bullen said Gumnut were judged the best tasting product in their category but also do an incredible job at producing a sustainable product by reducing waste to just one per cent by using green power, use specialised equipment, and looking for solutions to waste problems. Gumnut Patisserie has won the President’s Medal at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.(Supplied: Michael Bullen)”They focused on how they could batch mix with much less waste and on where their raw materials come through and how they can minimise that just-in-time use,” Mr Bullen said.He said the company developed their own water recycling system for some European-designed equipment that did not have it, bought new ovens that use just one third of the energy, and installed a 50-kilowatt solar energy system for renewable energy. Gumnut Patisserie has trained some of Australia’s best pastry chefs.(YouTube: RoyalAgNSW)The judge said they also invest a lot of time in training apprentices.”Their wall of champion apprentices really underpins their commitment to supporting their staff and growing the business … across Australia,” he said.Aquaculture prominentTwo seafood companies made the list of five finalists, including Gold Coast Marine Aquaculture and Yumbah Aquaculture in Portland, Victoria. Green lipped abalone grown in aquaculture made it to the finals of the President’s Medal at the Sydney Royal Show.(Supplied: Michael Bullen)Aquaculture has grown rapidly in Australia as wild fisheries globally are under threat, but there are also significant issues with land based fisheries as well.Yumbah grow green lipped abalone in beds using seawater that is then filtered and pumped back out to the ocean. “Their commitment is making sure that the water going back out is almost as clean as when it came in,” Mr Bullen said.Reducing water useTwo wineries are also on the list of finalists, and both are working hard to reduce the amount of water they use. On average it takes three litres of water to make a litre of wine, but Shottesbrooke Chardonnay in the Adelaide Hills has reduced that to just 1.5 litres.Get the latest rural news Yumbah Aquaculture are using seawater to grow abalone and returning it clean to the ocean.(Supplied: Michael Bullen)Mr Bullen said they custom-built a recycling system at the winery and used the water to grow trees after the water had been cleaned.”They actually had woodlots scattered around the cellar door that they pumped residual water onto to enhance the wildlife corridors on the vineyard,” he said.Just-in-time watering at the Heathcote winery near Bendigo, Victoria, saw them reach the finals, and enabled them to maintain production during the drought.Finalist pate maker Julianne’s Kitchen from Hornsby in Sydney was recognised for their employment of local staff.

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