14 Jan 2016
Possibly Waiariki’s youngest graduate will be crossing the stage to accept his parchment during the institute’s graduation awards ceremony in April.
Haans Paraki-Webber completed the Diploma in Patisserie and Bakery this past November. He was just 15 years old when he began his tertiary studies in late 2014.
Haans is mad for baking. In fact, by the time he started his courses at Waiariki, he already had two years of work experience under his belt, having started working at Ciabatta Bakery – for free the first year – at the age of 13.
“When I was little I just liked making cookies and baking with Mum,” he says. “I really like baking and I wanted to learn how to do it in an actual bakery. I just wanted to get straight into it, and there was no reason not to, nothing stopping me, I just wanted to learn how it all went.”
Being home schooled by his mum Cindy Paraki meant that they could work around the bakery schedule which often required Haans to clock in at 4am.
“A friend worked at Ciabatta Bakery, brought me in for a tour, and I just loved it. He became my main mentor when I started working there.”
Although Haans was gaining plenty of professional knowledge and experience, he was still keen to study at Waiariki, wanting to learn a wider variety of baking skills such as making cakes, plated desserts and restaurant-style baking.
Did his hours at Ciabatta Bakery give him a head-start in class? “Definitely,” he says. “I had more work experience and that just helped me learn a lot more. When I started I was really into it.”
When his classmates found out about Haans’s age and experience about a month into the course, it would come as no surprise he became a bit of a mentor to them, especially with bread baking.
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