Ballyclare teen Katie Gardiner returned triumphant from a major bakery competition - despite a last minute hitch almost scuppering her chances.
The 19-year-old travelled to England for the Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees (ABST) conference in Alton Towers with fellow classmates in her Belfast Met bakery and patisserie courses.
The UK-wide awards brings out the very best young and up-and-coming talent and competition is fierce.
Winners at the annual awards are often head-hunted by some of the most exclusive bakeries from across the UK and beyond.
Katie, a former Ballyclare Secondary School student, won the Frank Webster trophy for her dragon-carved cake and the took the coveted President’s Cup for her dinner rolls.
Her other creations were also recognised by the competition judges and she was named a runner-up in two other categories.
The President’s Cup is one of the most highly-regarded prizes a student can win and it means Katie will be recreating her winning rolls at the Bakery Industry Awards dinner in the Hilton in London later this year.
Those awards attract some of the industry’s finest and guests can pay around £3,000 for a table.
Katie will flying over to the September ceremony to reproduce her rolls for the 2,400 guests.
However, Katie’s fantastic success at the ABST awards were almost scuppered when her cakes were all damaged and her rolls crushed during transit to England.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said, “I had spent so much time on preparing and getting to the competition, even getting a special carrier for them and they all damaged came out damaged.
“I had one hour’s preparation before they went on display and sat patiently repairing them all.
“But that just made it all the more incredible when my name was announced as the winner.
“I just couldn’t believe it.”
Katie only started baking during her fifth year studies at school, but now the entrepreneurial teen runs her own company, Berry Tree Cakes, from home selling cakes.
Katie added: “I always enjoyed cooking, which I get from my dad Brian.
“But I never really got into baking until late on and I don’t even really have a sweet tooth.
“It’s just something I really enjoy particularly creating birthday cakes or anniversary or wedding cakes and one day I would love to have my own premises to run my business.”