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La Madre Bakery wins Victorian “Baking Manufacturer of the Year”

Tez Kemp & Anna Spurling of La Madre Bakery in Geelong

On Friday 6th November 2009, La Madre Bakery of Bell Park in Geelong, Victoria took out the top award at the second annual Baking Industry Association of Victoria’s “Excellence in Baking” awards by winning the “2009 Baking Manufacturer of the Year”.

La Madre Bakery is an artisanal bakery run by Anna Spurling and Tez Kemp. The couple (in life and in business) took over operations of the existing bakery three years ago, and since then has put their savvy stamp over the entire operation and offering.

The bakery’s specialisation is sourdough, crafted using considered techniques and age-old recipes, and it’s all hand-made with a capital N “No” to preservatives, improvers or any other additives. The full suite of La Madre breads not only features sourdough in all its tin, bun, baguette, roll, cob, fruit-laden and rye-combo forms, but also a ‘traditional’ range, as well as pastries and sweet seasonal treats. They have also recently developed a range of breads utilising an ancient grain that is experiencing a welcome resurgence, spelt.

Ralph Plarre, Co-owner of the Ferguson Plarre Bakehouse group, a highly regarded industry innovator and baking ambassador (and also the previous year’s winner), was guest speaker at the awards ceremony, and noted: “I’ve been keeping an eye on what’s happening down there in Bell Park for some time, and have been so impressed with the team at La Madre Bakery. They are a truly refreshing, progressive bakery operation. Their commitment to creating an inspiring environment through every aspect of their operations, specifically their enthusiasm and actions in developing a benchmark sustainable business, deserves great applause.”

Garry Higgins, the CEO of the Baking Industry Association of Victoria noted that La Madre Bakery was a standout winner, due to “their innovation with product, their philosophical commitment to sustainable practice, their ability to marry sustainability and profitability, and their success at repositioning themselves in the market.”

Anna and Tez were naturally elated by the win. “We’ve had very clear aspirations for this business from the start. Tez and I were keen to achieve a number of things. Firstly, products with great integrity. Secondly, be actively involved in the needs of our local community. And thirdly, be environmentally respectful. Not just to give the whole ‘eco’ thing a bit of lip-service, but actually implement initiatives across our entire business to create almost a “blue-print”, showing small to medium sized businesses that they can be sustainable if they’re serious about it. We have some pretty strong values and our business has to reflect those, and we’re getting there! This accolade is an important acknowledgement of our efforts thus far,” said Anna.

La Madre Bakery now supplies products to a wide range of restaurants, cafés and gourmet food stores throughout Geelong, Melbourne, the Surf Coast and Country Victoria as well as Farmers’ Markets.

But, as you might expect from this enterprising couple – standby… there’s plenty more action in the works.

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