Executive Member Profiles
Kevin Gilbert became president in July 2016.
Kevin Gilbert started baking straight out of high school and has never left the hospitality industry, having spent time in kitchens as well as running restaurants and bars. Now in Dunedin running Gilbert’s Fine Food and its gluten free division Lievito Bakery, Kevin couldn’t be happier.
Lievito Bakery focuses on gluten free products, but he is probably best known for the Gilbert’s stall at the famous Otago Farmers Market where he sells at least a dozen varieties of breads, with a special emphasis on sour dough, and upward of 15 Danish varieties, not to mention several "whims” each week. Kevin says he has a deep passion for the baking industry as a whole as well as the traditions, recipes and techniques that have developed over centuries.
In 2011, Kevin graduated from Otago Polytechnic with a Bachelor in Culinary Arts. He is a sought-after guest speaker, demonstrator and consultant on baking in general as well as more specialised talks ranging from product design to gluten free. Having spent so much of his life in baking he is excited to have the chance to give something back to an industry that he loves.
James is the managing director of Maketu Pies. He brings a wealth of valuable experience and expertise in key areas, particularly wholesale manufacturing.
James trained initially in hospitality but then made a change to become a flight attendant and eventually a crew trainer with Qantas. Over the years he always maintained an interest in his parent's business, Maketu Pies, which they founded 32 years ago. He became more closely involved six years ago as they developed ideas about how the business could grow. He began familiarising himself with all aspects of the operation and three years ago became the general manager.
James says he loves working in the food industry because it is everchanging and there are lots of facets to it. In his role on the BIANZ board James aims to focus on helping large manufacturers gain from their BIANZ membership.
Michael was elected BIANZ President in June 2013. He was Vice-President prior to this. Michael has stepped down for a much needed break as President in July 2016. He has been involved in his family’s business ever since he could climb on a box to reach the bakery bench. The business was originally established by his father in 1975. Having been bred into the industry he has an amazing passion for everything to do with baking and the baking industry, including networking and travelling the globe in search of new ideas. He happily enjoys the hours it takes to produce some of the best baked goods while successfully leading the team in the business.
Michael has developed great relationships with all suppliers to the baking industry and this is important in his work on the executive. Michael is knowledgeable and approachable and is always looking for ways to help people as well as to take the Association and the industry forward.
Thomas was elected Vice-President of BIANZ in June 2013. He is a second generation baker and, like many of the current executive, he grew up in the family business. The Windmill Quality Cake Shop has now been going for over 40 years.Thomas and his wife Mary now own and operate Kapiti Cakes & Bakery. Thomas has achieved a lot with his career as a baker and has won many awards. He now feels it is time to give something back to the industry.
Thomas is very passionate about apprentices and training and would love to see more young people take up the opportunity. He really enjoys it when his apprentices grasp a new concept and he sees the light go on when they finally get it!
Donna and her husband John Thomsen own the award-winning Copenhagen Bakery in Christchurch. John is the baker while Donna has been described by Christchurch newspaper The Press as the "organisational powerhouse" behind the business.
They opened the business in central-city Armagh Street in 1987 but were forced from those premises by the February 2011 earthquake and re-established their new bakery-cafe in the more residential area of Bishopday a year later.
Donna had a career as a registered nurse before "becoming the baker's wife" as she says and going into the business in partnership with John. Her speciality is running the shop floor, managing staff and administration. Outside of work, Donna's interests include art, yoga and outdoor sports: walking, skiing, waterskiing and fishing.
She is also on the committee of the Comte de Paris Descendents Group, descendents of the French and German settlers who established Akaroa in 1840. Her great-great grandfather was on that ship.
Donna and John have two grown-up sons, Lars and Kirstian. Kristian apprenticed as a baker and now works in the business with his parents.
Donna maintains a keen interest in hospitality as a whole, with a passion for excellence in service. She takes great satisfaction in selling top quality products.
She is looking foward to helping people with the bakery and cafe management skills she has acquired over the years.
John Kloeg of the famous Ten O-Clock Cookie Bakery Cafe in Masterton is one of New Zealand's most accomplished bakers: a regular winner of tough competitions including the Bakery of the Year trophy in 2009 and 2016.
Like many bakeries, his is a family business, with wife Anneke, their daughter and one of their sons working there. His older son, Michael, apprenticed in the family bakery and now runs his own highly successful bakery in Clareville, also in Wairarapa.
"I've been in the business almost 36 years and I would like to give something back to the industry. to help the industry to forward", he told Slice recently.
He is concerned that many bakeries are failing to train the next generation of bakers, and that the industry doesn't have the profile he thinks it should have.
He points to an anomaly, the large number of food programmes on television, including a lot of baking, while at the same time there is a shortage of bakers in New Zealand.
Building wide recognition and a good reputation is clearly something John Kloeg knows a great deal about and lies behind his hope for the industry as a whole.
"We need more in the open, more in the public that people think, 'hang on, the baking industry is kicking and alive we make good product and we make healthy stuff as well'. That's probably a challenge we have," he said.
I started with BIANZ in May 2017. I have come from working for New Zealand Oil Services, which was my first role after finishing my BA/BCom in English Literature and Marketing at Victoria University of Wellington. I am currently Wellington based.
What's next? My role is to support you through BIANZ, helping you gain all the benefits of membership, ensuring you have the all information you need and keeping you up to date with the industry. I will be continuously sourcing new membership benefits, including discounts. I will also update our website members area. If you need my help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. My cell number: 027 22 55 185