Scroll down for a gallery of dessert delicacies created by the award-winning Dapto chef...
It wasn't Olivia Saliba's regular meat pie that wowed judges at the national Official Great Aussie Pie Competition but rather her gourmet seafood pie extravaganza.
The 18-year-old apprentice from Dapto impressed the judges with her scallop, prawn, and barramundi pie at the annual Bake Skills Pastry competition.
"I just [entered] for the fun of it, just for the experience," Olivia Saliba said.
"I was just tasting it along the way and then when I put it in the oven it was a waiting game."
Apprentices from across the country baked cakes, patisserie items and a pie at Fine Food Australia in Sydney. The competitors had to be under the age of 26 and either an apprentice or newly qualified baker to enter.
As well as winning the pie category Ms Saliba won second place overall in the three day national competition from September 10 to September 12.
Ms Saliba was awarded third place in the state competition held at TAFE Illawarra kitchen in Wollongong in June.
Only the top two state winners compete in the nationals, but Ms Saliba stepped up to the plate when another competitor pulled out.
"I was nervous, excited and I also had the support of the other competitors, we were all getting along really well. So that kind of calmed my nerves a lot," she said.
The bakers prepared carefully crafted desserts from eclairs to vol au vents (a hollow case of puff pastry) over the three days.
"Overall the shoe pastry would have been hardest. I did have struggles with that in the regional competition," Ms Saliba said.
"For this national competition, I practiced and practiced, so I nailed it. I'm really happy with that."
The 18-year-old has been an apprentice for three years and is working at The Harbourfront Restaurant in Wollongong.
She first became entranced with baking when she went to a cupcake decorating class as a 15-year-old.
"I just fell in love with baking ... as soon as I came home ... I got all my supplies and I started baking," she said.
"I like the creativity just to put my ideas on a cake."
Ms Saliba hopes to start her own business creating petite cakes after completing a chef apprenticeship.
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