Firstly, we would like to thank everyone who attended conference this year! We are sure that you will all agree it was a great conference, enjoyed by all and we hope that everyone enjoyed themselves, learnt something new about baking and made some new friends. We also wanted to take the opportunity to look back at last weekend and highlight some of the great things that went on. So if you didn't attend this year, and are thinking of coming next time you can see what it is all about!
#HireMe Careers Fair
It was great to see both industry and bakery students & trainees networking during the Friday afternoon for our #HireMe activity, where representatives from industry had the chance to inspire and encourage bakery students and trainees to pursue careers within baking, as well as increasing their skills and knowledge. We had some great feedback from students and the baking industry saying how it was very useful to network and share knowledge with each other.
Zombie Gingerbread Man Competition
We also held our new competition on the Friday afternoon where students & trainees had to decorate their own #ZombieGingerbread man. These were judged just before our AGM by our President Sara Autton and President Elect Jimmy Griffin. Well done to Stephanie Jones for winning!
#ZombieApocalypse themed Friday evening
As always, our Friday night was a themed evening which was voted on at the previous years conference. This year it was Zombie Apocalypse and everyone dressed up as either zombies or zombie hunters. There was some great creation involved in some of the costumes, and to see more see the below video! Congratulations to our winners who won £50 each for best fancy dress.
Saturday at conference is all about competitions! We were overwhelmed with some of the entries this year. The skills used to produce these products were of a very high standard. While our student and trainee members were out making use of the water park ad crazy golf, our judges were hard at work marking all of your entries. Here's a sneak peak of what happened behind closed doors on the Saturday morning as well as some of the pictures of entries on the day!
Every year we hold our #LobTheCob final at conference. This took place on Saturday afternoon with University College Birmingham, London Southbank University, Limerick College, Tameside College and Dublin Institute of Technology all competing to be crowned #LobTheCob Champion 2018. Congratulations to Tameside and Limerick for winning!
Saturday Evening - Black Tie Awards Ceremony
On Saturday evening we hold our Black Tie awards ceremony where it is the chance for everyone to celebrate the hard work put into competitions, and receive their awards on stage. This year we also awarded two long serving members an honorary life award which was Colin Lomax and Dawn Gemmell. Both have served the ABST for many years and the awards were very well deserved.
The ABST aims to support bakery students and trainees during their training, by offering opportunities to network with industry and encourage the skills needed across the baking industry. We would like to thank everyone that attended conference this year, and we look forward to welcoming you all to conference 2019 next year. Don't forget in the mean time all of the other opportunities that are available, such as our #HireMe scheme. We will update you via our website and social media throughout the year with any opportunities, so like and follow us to stay updated!
Only two days left until conference, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to let you know what is going to happen on the Friday afternoon when you arrive.
When you arrive at Alton Towers you will be able to collect your conference badge and check in to the hotel. You need to leave you bags in reception with the hotel staff and collect your key cards for your rooms. These wont actually be activated until 5pm though, so you cant get into your room until after the AGM. Your bags will be delivered to your room for you. You then need to make your way down to the conference centre through Splash Landings water park. All of you competition entries will need to be taken down to the conference centre as well via the conference centre entrance. Dont worry if you get confused as Alton Towers Hotel is a big place, but we will be there to point you in the right direction!
When you arrive at the conference centre, you will be able to collect your free lunch which you have ordered, and also your conference t-shirt. Those of you that ordered specific sizes will have these available. Those of you that did not order a specific size will be able to collect a medium sized one.
You will then be able to make your way down into the conference centre where we have our activities for the afternoon. This year we have a number of activities designed to test your skills, but also network with industry.
Table talks - Careers
This has become a popular event at conference. We have a number of special guests from industry, who are young and just started their careers in baking. Many of them have recently finished college, and are there to give you a 10 minute talk on what they do, how they got there and what opportunities are available during your career. The aim is to inspire you all and make you aware of different job roles available, so make sure you visit each one, and ask lots of questions! This year we have the following industry representatives that will be giving table talks:
Industry Jobs Fair
This is a new activity which we have been working on for your benefit. We have a number of industry representatives in the conference centre, who are there to talk to you about job opportunities and the many different roles in their own business. This is a great opportunity for you to network with industry, learn more about the baking industry and also inspire you to think about what you may want to do in your future careers. The companies supporting this activity this year are:
We encourage you all to interact and network with these companies, as they will offer you advice and tips on how to achieve you goals for your dream career.
Every year, our president receives a cake which is produced by students. This is then taken after conference and given to the presidents charity. This year, Susan Haskell of Brooklands College will be decorating the cake live in the conference centre. We encourage all students to go and see this being made, and also offer your help to make something to go onto the cake.
Zombie Gingerbread Men
This year, as we have already mentioned in our blog, we will be running a competition on the Friday afternoon where you make your own zombie gingerbread men. More details are on our social media and blog including the prize money and rules. Please be aware that the final entry time is 3:30pm, so you need to have produced you Zombie Gingerbread man before this time and place it on the judging table. Judging will start at 3:30pm on this in the conference centre.
4:45pm - Jobs Fair Talk
4:00pm - AGM Starts
5:00pm - Zombie Gingerbread Man Results
5:10pm - Conference 2019 themes
6:30pm onwards - #ZombieApocalypse Dinner
Evening #ZombieApocalypse themed dinner
As some of you may be aware, our competition secretary recently posted on our group page regarding Live competitions. For those of you that have not entered a Live competition before, here is a bit of an overview of what they are all about, and we also wanted to get rid of some of the myths surrounding any thing you may have heard before.
As well as the competitions that are in the main judging room, where you would produce products at college or university and then bring them along, we also have Live competitions which takes place during the Saturday morning. Below is a bit more information about them:
Live Competitions available
The time allowed for each competition is different, so you would need to check the competition for further details regarding this. The prize money for all of these competitions is as follows:
Now we have heard some rumours going around about Live competitions, which we wanted to clarify here:
If I enter a live competition I wont be able to take part or watch Lob the Cob...
This is not true. Live competitions start at 09:30am in the morning. The longest Live competition lasts 2 hours 30 minutes so would be finished at 12pm. Lob the Cob does not start until 12:30pm so that is plenty of time for you to get changed and prepare yourselves for any cob lobbing or spectating!
I can enter more than one Live competition...
Unfortunately, this is not possible, as all of the Live competitions take place at the same time. Based on this, you can only enter one Live competition
Live video will put me off doing this...
From speaking with students previously, we have found that actually the Live video broadcasting via Facebook doesn’t actually put students off. We only have one person walking around the room recording Live, and they go around every student. We aren’t actually recording you, and focusing more on your work and the products you are producing. Also, you have the benefit of being able to watch yourself back on the live stream after. Your friends and family can watch you live on the day, and even give you some support through the facebook app.
Unlike the normal competitions, Live Competitions are testing your skills at conference, in a set time limit. One of competitions currently does not have any entries, which is the Victory Challenge Trophy - 6 Decorated biscuits / Gingerbread men. We think that their are lots of you coming to conference who could do this competition and be in with a very good chance of being in the top three. You have to be under 18 years old (16 or 17) on the day of judging in order to enter. If you are interested in entering this competition, you need to be quick. Speak to your lecturer and ask them to email our competition secretary Graham Duckworth to get your late entry in.
What did the zombie get an award for?
DEAD-ication! Shocking pun I know but we have your attention now, right?
This year the team have been busy designing props for the #ABSTConference2018 that
will make the nights more interactive and fun. With only a few days left until conference, we’re hoping you all have your zombie costumes ready for the #FancyDress night. If you don’t, fear no more! The team have created some masks for everyone to use, see above for the four varieties. They will be on the tables on the Friday night alongside the Instagram boards for you all to take lots of solo/group pictures! If you’re posting on social media i.e Instagram, Facebook etc, then do hashtag #ABSTConference2018 #ZombieApocolyse so everyone can see the efforts put in for the #FancyDress costume/creations, remember there will be prizes for both male and female zombies (£50).
Bear in mind that Alton Towers have families staying there too. The masks are somewhat intimidating and may scare the other guests who aren’t aware of the ABST conference theme. We ask kindly that you take that into consideration and stay around the conference area when in full costume.
We look forward to seeing all the zombies on Friday night! If anyone has any questions or concerns regarding the information stated above then comment below or contact email@example.com.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is an important part of the Conference Weekend. This is a constitutional requirement and in reality, the Conference Weekend was built around this meeting, which, over the years, has grown into the event that you all know today. For those of you who are unsure what the AGM is all about, here is a quick summary of what goes on.
Leading up to conference
Prior to the Conference Weekend, reports from the members of the committee will be posted on the website and social media platforms. Please read the reports as they let you, as members, know what the Executive Committee has been up to over the last 12 months. Basically that are a summary of each area including competitions, membership, communication and treasury. There will also be the presidents report available. The reason why it is important that you read these reports, is that we will be asking you all to pass these as correct during the AGM. These reports are available on our website under AGM Reports 2018, or you can view them now by clicking here.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The AGM gives you a chance to ask questions of the committee in relation to these reports. If you have any questions regarding anything in the reports, then the AGM is the place to ask. You will also receive notice of the minutes of the AGM held in 2017 and of the agenda for the 2018 AGM. Both the minutes and agenda can be accessed by clicking here.
The minutes from the 2017 AGM are basically a record of the meeting. These minutes will need to be passed at the 2018 AGM on Friday as a true and accurate record. To that end you should read the minutes prior to the AGM as the General Secretary will ask for a proposer and a seconder for the minutes and then a vote from the members. A majority vote means that the Minutes have been passed and the AGM can move on to the following agenda item.
On the Agenda you will also see that the reports from the committee require to be passed by the membership. The same process will take place as for the AGM Minutes. Finally you will see that the Agenda also lists nominated members that will form the committee for 2018-2019. These members have already had a proposer and a seconder for the position but they will only take office if you the members give them a majority vote. In essence, the AGM is an opportunity to have your say. The ABST is an organisation run by members for members so exercise your right on the 15th June. You can make a difference.
See you all at Alton Towers
Every year we hold our national competitions, and we have hundreds of entries from Students, trainees & professional bakers from around the UK & Ireland. We even have live competitions for students and trainees to compete in during conference weekend. The competitions are held during our Annual Conference in June. Here is a summary of why competitions are important & how they can help you. Our competitions are an important part of the ABST Conference weekend, and here's the reason why.
Anyone that has entered our competitions, will understand all of the work that has to go into making it happen. There's the advanced planning to start. For example, all the individual ingredients that you have to make sure you have, what time you want to make the entry to ensure it is as fresh as possible when it is entered. Or in the case of cake decorating, there's the design to think about, and the theme.
Then there's all the practising. Whether you are entering a competition that requires the best flavour, or one that involves the best overall bread or cake, you will no doubt practise. Whether its practise at moulding, looking at the best mixing times, proving time and baking temperature, you will be practising to ensure that the day you make your final entry, it will be a combination of preparation and practise. Then we expect you will have had a good look at your practices, and worked out what worked well, and want didn't work so well, and then tried again. Once all the above has been done, its time to start making your final products, ready to be judged at conference. The main point is that competitions are not about winning believe it or not! Yes its great to have done all that work, all the practising and reviewing, and then win the competition, and that is the aim at the end of the day. But, the most valuable part of competitions is the work that goes into it before. You may not realise it now, but all that work that you did entering competitions is really going to help you in your future careers. The times that you spent practising and looking to get the flavour exactly right, or the shape, is exactly the kind of skills that are needed in New Product Development. All the time you spent working out the best mixing times, or looking at baking temperatures to achieve the best results and then making sure you follow those times and temperatures is exactly the kind of skills you need for a technical role in the baking industry. And finally, picking the best loaf, the one that you think is the best out of all of them to take into the competitions to be judged.
Although you may not have realised it, these are the skills needed for roles such as quality control. If you are looking to open your own business in the future, all of the skills above will be needed.
In summary ABST Annual Competitions are all about working alone or in a team, to create the perfect product. Not only does it develop your skills, but also your understanding of different products, and what the perfect bakery product should look like. One of the most important points of the whole process is feedback. If you enter a competition, and you don't win, it is always worth asking one of the judges and experts for advice on what you can do to improve. If you don't ask, you'll never know. That's why we ensure that everyone that enters a competition has the opportunity to ask judges
questions. You will see on the agenda that we open doors to the judging room for 30 minutes just for competition entrants, which means you have more time to ask judges
the questions on how to improve, or even why you won as well.
Top tips for success
The first most important #TopTip is to read the rules! Sounds simple, but you would be surprised. If you don't read the rules before you start, you won't know what you need to do in order to have the most opportunity to win. Things like finished weights of products, and the amount of products you need to make and enter. Also, it you are entering a competition that requires a number of different types of products, make sure you enter all of them, or you may be deducted valuable points, or even disqualified. If you are entering a competition that asks for decorated cake for example, but all decorations must be edible, please make sure that you follow the rules.
If you are confused about anything just ask! We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the rules and any of the competitions, and we would rather you ask us earlier than later. Finally don't forget to be careful when transporting your entries. We understand that you will have travelled quite a long way to get here, so its really important that when you spent so much time and effort into making your products perfect, that they arrive in one piece!
Good luck to everyone!
So with just under two weeks to go until conference, we thought that it would be useful to give you some ideas of what we consider essential items to bring with you! So whether this is your first time at conference or you’ve been a few times, don’t forget to pack these essentials! Here is our top 10 essentials to bring to conference:
1. Swimming Costume
During conference, on Saturday morning you will have the opportunity to go into Splash Landings swimming pool. This is free of charge and included in your conference ticket price. If you want to take advantage of this, you need to make sure that you bring your swimming costume! There will be towels available in your hotel room, so you don’t need to worry about bringing towels as well, unless you really want to of course!
2. Black Tie Dinner
On the Saturday evening, we hold our awards dinner which is a black tie event. Get prepared early if you need to buy dresses or suits for the evening ceremony. You could also hire these to save you some money if you don’t already have one. If you haven’t already seen the menu for our black tie dinner, then click here.
3. Fancy Dress
Friday night is fancy dress night. Our theme this year is Zombie Apocalypse, so all delegates are expected to turn up in fancy dress on the night. There are prizes on the night for best costume, so it is definitely worth making the effort and getting involved. Please ensure that you have read our other blog post regarding fancy dress at Alton Towers, as we have requested that face masks and prosthetics are not worn outside of the conference centre. More information is available here.
There are going to be plenty of opportunities to take pictures during conference. We also have Instagram frames available during the weekend, so we encourage you to take pictures and also tag us in them. So don’t forget to bring your camera along with you, and of course any additional batteries or memory cards you may need!
5. Phone chargers
No doubt that you will be using your phones during the weekend a lot. Whether it’s checking social media, taking photos or staying in touch with friends and family. That is going to take a lot of pressure on the old batteries, so make sure that you bring your chargers!
It may seem like an odd one to remember, but don't forget your money. All of your meals are included in the price of conference*, as well as your accommodation, but you will need some money to buy additional drinks or food during the day and evening. Alton Towers accept card payments, and there is a cash machine available in the reception area, but this will charge you for cash withdrawals.
*Baking industry bookings are required to pay for their rooms on departure, as per the information at time of booking
7. Proof of age
You must be over the age of 18 in order to purchase alcohol. Alton Towers operate a “look 25 policy” so if you are lucky enough to look under 25 years old, you will need to bring proof of age with you. Examples of suitable proof of age identification includes driving license and passports. Even if you think you look over 25, it is advised to bring proof of age anyway, just in case!
Now obviously we know that you are going to pack clothes! However, the reason why we have this on the essentials list is to make sure that you pack suitable clothes. The weather can be unpredictable even in June, and you wouldn’t want to get caught in your shorts and t-shirt in Alton Towers theme park on Sunday, if its raining. Our advice is to check the weather and be prepared!
9. Bathroom essentials
The one item most people forget! Don’t forget to pack all of your bathroom supplies you will need over the weekend. Alton Towers do have some essential items available such as toothbrushes, but you will need to pay for them, and there aren’t any shops around Alton Towers to quickly nip out and get something. The closest supermarket is about 30 minutes drive away.
If you are taking medication don’t forget to bring it with you. It’s really important that you let us know if you have any allergies while you are at conference, so that we can ensure that staff know when preparing your meals.
So thats our top 10 essentials to make sure you pack before making your way to us. Anything you think we missed? Let us know by commenting below and we can make sure everyone remembers! Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and twitter to ensure that you receive all the updates running up to and during the weekend.
We have an exciting mini competition to announce which will be taking place on Friday afternoon of conference. As you will already be aware by now, the theme of this years conference is Zombie Apocalypse. With this in mind, we thought it would be a great idea for you to show off your decorating skills, and each produce a zombie gingerbread man during the Friday afternoon. The idea is simple although as with any competition their are some rules as per below:
This is one of the many new activities planned for Friday afternoon at conference which you can take part in from when you arrive up until the AGM. We will be updating you on the other activities over the next few days, so keep an eye out for them!
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank both Greenhalgh's and Renshaw's for the support they have given in providing the Gingerbread men and the icings and decorations, as well as guidance and support on the day at conference.
If you are asking yourself what on earth Lob the Cob is, then you are in for a real treat! Lob the Cob, could be described as the baking industries equivalent to the world championships for shot put (according to Chris). Over the past 8 years when it was invented, there has been a steady increase in colleges competing in the finals, which are held at Conference on the Saturday afternoon.
The title of #LobTheCob Champion is one of the most sought after by all colleges. The winning male and female both receive a #LobTheCob themed trophy and £50 each. But arguably one of the best things about winning this competition, is the title of #LobTheCob Champion, and winning a place in the hall of fame as the best cob lobbing contestant of the year.
So now that you know a little bit about the competition, we are sure you are asking yourselves "how do I enter this amazing sporting challenge that will test me both mentally and physically?" Well that is a very good question, so read on.
In order to go through to the finals, you need to hold semi finals at your college or workplace. The semi finals are easy to hold, and you will need the following:
The rules for Lob the cob are simple.
We feel obliged to also issue some health and safety warnings prior to playing. Please ensure that you have your tutors permission prior to organising any semi finals. Ensure that the lobbing area is clear of people and personal belongings. This includes cars, people, phones, iPads and so on. Cobs can be dangerous when flying through the air, and we encourage you all to take the necessary safety precautions. Please also ensure that you clean up any bread crumbs that will inevitably occur during cob lobbing.
Once you have completed your Lob the Cob semi final, you will have a best male and best female, who will then go through to the final at conference. You need to let Chris know the names of these finalists and what college / uni you are from either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or preferably on facebook with some pictures of your lob the cob experience! Closing date for entries is Wednesday 13th June 2018 so start organising your semi finals now!
If you are still looking for inspiration, check out the #LobTheCob finals from last year! Stay safe, have fun and happy cob lobbing!
So now you know the meal options for Friday night, we thought you might like to know the food that will be served during the day on Saturday and then during our black tie dinner and awards ceremony on the Saturday evening.
Lunch on Saturday will be in the form of a meal voucher. These will be given to your lecturer to be handed out to students on the Friday night. All delegates should receive one meal voucher which will pay towards your lunch on the Saturday. you will be able to use these meal vouchers in any of the Alton Towers Hotel restaurants. Please ensure that you check the opening times of the restaurants, and you may need to book a space at busy times, which can be done at the restaurant or at reception. The options that you can choose from on the menu are as follows:
Hot food menu
Cold food menu
Saturday Evening Black Tie Meal
This is a sit down meal. The dress code is Back Tie, which means that gentlemen should wear dinner suits / suits and bow ties. Ladies should where appropriate clothing. The menu is fixed, and you will have confirmed when you booked your room with your college whether you required a vegetarian meal, or if you have any allergens:
Feta and Watermelon
Salted caramel cheesecake served with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberry.
We hope that you find the above menus useful, and we are sure that you can appreciate that it is very difficult to please all delegates at conference when it comes to food options, but hopefully everyone will find something that they like!