Dublin 15 September: At the annual presentation of Awards to students of professional bakery in DIT?s National Bakery School, Kevin Street, three members of the teaching staff were presented with the accolade of ?Master Baker?. This very rare honour was conferred on Michelle O?Connor, Dolores Spain and Robert Humphries, staff members in the Bakery School and members of the team who have represented Ireland in the European Bakery Cup Competition -  'COUPE D'EUROPE de la BOULANGERIE ? consistently coming in the top three teams in Europe.  The award was presented by Mr. Tony Byrne, on behalf of the Richemont Club.  The Richemont Club was originally established by the Association des Maîtres Boulangers et Pâtissiers and has national organisations in many European countries including Ireland. 

 Mr. Derek O'Brien, Head of the National Bakery School with Master Bakers Dolores Spain, Robert Humphries and Michelle O'Connor, and Ms Brigid McManus, Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science

Mr. Derek O?Brien, Head of the National Bakery School, said he was absolutely delighted to see his three colleagues honoured in this way.  ?Dolores, Robert and Michelle have not only represented us with distinction abroad, they have also achieved remarkable things here in Ireland.  Bread-making had declined in Ireland over the last number of years with the closure of the traditional large bakeries.  Our bread-making courses here in the Bakery School have helped to revive an interest in the art of bakery and many of our students ? inspired by these three Masters of the art ? have gone on to set up their own businesses, to work in the catering industry or to make real quality bread at home for family and  friends.  We certainly regard them as Masters, but now the prestigious international Richemont Club has acknowledged them as such and we are extremely proud!?

 Ms Brigid McManus, Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science, addressing graduates of Professional Baking in DIT Kevin Street

More than 150 graduates of professional baking courses were presented with their certificates by Ms Brigid McManus, Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science.  In her address to the students Ms McManus said ?The Bakery School here in DIT typifies all the good things about education and the ways in which it can improve the quality of life.?  She congratulated Mr. O?Brien and his team on their passion and their success in passing this on to their students.

Ms Miriam Duggan, one of the graduates, also addressed the assembly.  Thanking the staff on behalf of all the students, Ms Duggan said ?You don?t have to be a student here for very long to realise that the classes are run by a team.?  She said that students don?t just learn to bake, but they learn the history of baking, chemistry, how variations in ingredients react differently.  She thanked the team for the culture of excellence they practice and teach.

 Professor Brian Norton with Ms Eileen Moriarty, who graduated with a certificate in Professional Baking two months before her 80th birthday

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