Sep 12, 2011
Of all the jobs I've had in Australia, working as a Bakery Assitant at Kakadu Bakery was the wackiest experience, hands down. I arrived at the bakery's busiest time of the year, when 13-hour shifts and ache-y legs were the norm. Nevertheless, I learned alot and admittedly enjoyed my job. Located in small town Jabiru, 99% of the bakery's employees are backpackers. So if you're a backpacker and you're thinking of working here, you're in luck. This post is dedicated to you.
I'm afraid I'll have to tell you all the deep, dark truth about Kakadu Bakery. The owner is a very difficult man to work for. He's capable of being friendly, but most days, he's just plain miserable. As such, the work atmosphere at Kakadu Bakery isn't the most uplifting. Backpackers beware! Do not attempt to work here if you cannot work long, hard hours and if you do not deal with harsh criticisms well. If you cannot handle the heat, you will be kicked out of the bakery. This is no joke.
I survived two intense months working at this crazy place thanks to the honourable gentlemen pictured above. Introducing... the Bread Guy Vahur (left), the Head Baker Juancho (middle) and my fellow Bakery Assistant Matteo (right). 6 days a week workin' 60/70/80 hours a week together... we were such a good team, hey?! I'll never forget The Dinosaur hand, Vahur's squinty morning eyes, the same bloody CDs being played over and over again, and of course, "Sex, Drugs & Sausage Rolls!"
Among a long list of other things, filling cream buns with fresh whipped cream is a daily task for the Bakery Assistants. Bigups to Matteo for teaching me how to pipe whipped cream so that it looks bee-yoo-tee-full. Btw, at Kakadu Bakery, you either work in the bakery (back) or in the shop (front). And all the ideas expressed in this post are from the perspectives of someone who worked in the bakery. Good riddance to a lifetime of customer service-oriented part-time jobs!
Another daily task as Bakery Assistant is to prepare the sweet scrolls pictured above. 3 flava flaves, ya'll: apple, apricot and blueberry. Additionally, I rolled out baguettes by hand, sprinkled sesame seeds on bread rolls, prepared meat/veg pizzas and quiches, slathered nasty pink sh.t on Finger Buns (an Aussie fave)... there are too many tasks to mention here. Just know that 25% of my job entailed cleaning when all the baking was done. Yep, I was an official Counter Scraper/Dishwasher too!
I admit, baking the sweet stuff was the funnest part of my job. Imagine! Getting paid to bake banana cakes, carrot cakes, cheesecake tarts, brownies, choc chip cookies, anzac cookies, blueberry muffins... 'twas sweet assssssssssss! The top 3 things I learned as a Bakery Assistant: 1. Baking in a commercial bakery is 100% different from baking at home. 2. Follow the recipe's procedures precisely, or you're effed. 3. Every bake will be different, and that's just how the cookie crumbles.
In Australia, job opportunities are everywhere. You need only decide what you'd like to do, then set out to make it happen! This concept applies to the whole concept of backpacking in Australia. Whether it's a job or a travel idea, you'll have nothing to lose and everything to gain by just going for it! So good luck, fellow backpacker. Work hard to play hard. Now it's my turn to play hard, whoopeeee! PS. "Jabiru Bakery" is so much more appropriate, no? #justsayin