News & Events
Betsan wins bake-off
- Posted by: pembscollegesuperadmin
College student, Betsan Towse, has used talents inherited from her baking enthusiast mother to scoop the top prize in an all-Wales cooking contest.
Betsan, a Hospitality and Catering student at the College, battled it out with five other finalists from across the country to be named Skills Competition Wales winner for patisserie.
Backed by the Welsh Government and the European Social Fund, the annual Skills Competition Wales events are designed to showcase excellence in vocational learning and promote the importance of developing a highly skilled workforce. The Patisserie competition final was hosted by Coleg Sir Gar at Carmarthen.
Betsan, who commutes to college from her home at Efailwen Login in Pembrokeshire, was inspired to study patisserie after helping her mother bake cakes as a child. She’s now determined to turn these skills into a career. Betsan said: “My mum started making cakes as a hobby and I used to love helping her out. She started making wedding and birthday cakes for friends and family but word soon spread and she would be getting phone calls from people who had heard about how good her cakes were. She also did the same qualification as me when she was my age, so I’m following in her footsteps.
“My specialty dishes are sweets and I really enjoy baking. I was really nervous before the competition, as it was my first ever one, so I’m really pleased to have won.”
Contestants had to decorate an orange gateaux, make an apple flan and then cook eight individual Chelsea buns and Devonshire splits, all within a two and a half hour time limit. They were watched closely by the judges, including Emma Thomas, pastry chef at the Ivybush Royal Hotel, Carmarthen, who assessed work methods as well as the taste and presentation of dishes.
Betsan will continue to Hospitality and Catering Level 3, before doing an apprenticeship at a bakery where she will focus on puddings and sweets. Betsan said “Eventually, after completing my apprenticeship, I would love to open my own coffee shop where I could serve up my favourite dishes for people to come and sample”.
Skills Competition Wales aims to find the country’s most talented trainees across a wide range of skills, including fields such as patisserie, automotive engineering, aerospace, construction skills, catering, accountancy, media, and information technology.
Colleges, Sector Skills Councils and training providers host competition finals across Wales offering star learners the chance to test, benchmark and raise their skills levels.
Betsan and the winners of all-Wales finals in other skills may have the chance to progress to WorldSkills UK finals and possibly even to the WorldSkills International event at Rio de Janeiro in 2015.
Jeff Cuthbert, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, congratulated the successful contestants at Coleg Sir Gar. He said: “These competitions are an excellent opportunity for up-and-coming skilled workers in Wales to stretch themselves and really develop their abilities within their chosen fields. These competitions cover many important sectors of the economy and we aim to encourage young people entering these occupations to benchmark their skills against others in Wales, the UK or indeed internationally.”