Master Baker Derek O’Brien is Ireland’s most highly respected professional baking expert and it was a good day for this country when he decided to start his baking academy here a few years ago, offering hands-on courses in bread and cake baking, chocolate making and sugar craft cake decoration.
Although we categorise the academy as a cookery school, they emphasis that there is actually a major difference between the baking academy and cookery schools. “We are distinguished by our commitment to baking bread and cakes, chocolates and sugar craft. We are not cooks or chefs – we are bakers, confectioners, pastry and sugar craft specialists.”
An Irish Food Writers’ Guild Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and former head of the National Bakery School, in Dublin, Derek introduced and managed their hugely popular part time Professional Baking courses, and he is the team manager of the Irish National Baking Team that has been so successful in European baking competitions - and, uniquely, he is also Head of the English language Diploma in German Baking programme at the International Baking Academy in Germany. So, any student fortunate enough to undertake a course here could not be in better hands.
Derek and his team want to share the joy and excitement of creating wonderful sugar craft decorations and chocolates or baking something really enjoyable and sharing it straight from the oven. Knowing that people are ‘becoming tired and bored with modern bland tasting sliced bread, synthetic flavoured boxed cakes and chocolates and products with “it never stales” shelf life and endless lists of ingredients’ the aim is to provide the best educational experience for every student, to demystify the science and technology and inspire you to create something fantastic. “We will teach you the craft and skills to do it successfully - every time.”
The Baking Academy's hands-on workshop is designed for a maximum of 12 students and each student has easy access to all the equipment needed at their own work station. An apron and all the ingredients are supplied, and each student works alone - never in pairs or small groups - to ensure the perfect learning environment.
Tutors are specialists in the field of baking, confectionery, chocolate and sugar craft, each with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the art and craft of artisan techniques. They are uniquely experienced and enthusiastic bakers, confectioners and chocolatiers who will guide and inspire both beginners and seasoned enthusiasts alike.
“The watchwords are natural and quality. Obviously that means using only the finest ingredients and we never use chemical improving agents, preservatives, crumb softeners, etc - substances that are frequently used by many commercial baking companies. We pride ourselves on our expertise, dedication and creativity in the field of artisan baking craft skill and technology. Students attending the Baking Academy of Ireland will graduate with the essential knowledge, invaluable hands-on experience and the enthusiasm to become successful artisan bakers.”