Gloriavale leaver discovers new life working at Timaru bakery

Gloriavale leaver discovers new life working at Timaru bakery

| RNZ |

A Gloriavale leaver has come second in an iconic national pie making contest after starting out as a cleaner in a Timaru bakery and working her way up to the night manager’s job.

Lianna MacFarlane had not even made pies before her boss insisted that she should enter the NZ Certificate in Trade Baking Apprentice Pie Maker Award.

MacFarlane, who works night shift at Timaru’s U-Bake and usually specialises in making bread and doughnuts, said she was surprised at the win.

“It’s a bit of a shock. It’s amazing, I never thought I’d get second place,” she told Checkpoint.

The award-winning pie is a smoked chicken and leek pie, with sauteed leeks, bacon and a creamy cheese sauce.

MacFarlane said this was the first time she made pies from start to finish as she usually had only a small part in pie-making.

“I could count on my hand the amount of time I’ve made pies,” she said.

She first started as a cleaner at the bakery but became interested in baking after offering to help out her boss each night.

“I was just cleaning at night, and I think my boss at the time was a bit short of staff, so after I had finished cleaning at night I’d go in the bakery and offer to help him do the baking.

“I just started getting really interested, started helping him more and more, and one night he just said to me, ‘I’m going to take you off cleaning and put you on baking, are you interested?'”

She said most of her skills were from growing up in Gloriavale as she learnt practical skills, but working at U-Bake improved and refined her skills.

“I love being able to make my own choices, growing up in Gloriavale, I knew that I couldn’t have an opinion about anything,” she said.

“I’d never got to make my own life choices.”

She said she now got to choose work in a job that she loved, compared to her upbringing of no freedom. “I would just work in a job that I got told to work in and I’d have to be happy about it,” she said.

“Making my own choices in my life is so amazing.”

MacFarlane is currently two years through her baking apprenticeship and after her three years is finished, she wants to study to become a pastry chef.

“I want to study cakes as well, I want to study it all, become fully qualified, maybe one day own my own bakery,” she said.

She said U-Bake makes hundreds of products such as croissants, cupcakes, cakes, custard squares and a range of other different slices.

“We make sugar doughnuts filled with jam, custard and chocolate and big doughnuts filled with cream with lots of different toppings. We also make different types of bread and lots of different types of cookies. Just so many products,” she said.

“I love what I do so much.”