A growing demand for his cookies has baker Fritz Malopig excited about one day opening his own café.
Fritz, 26, from Thornlands, east of Brisbane, lives with intellectual disability.
He is one of 2.1 million Australians of working age (15-64) with disability, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Since joining the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Fritz has found his dream job baking cookies at Blue Tongue Bakery, in Helensvale, on the Gold Coast.
As part of provider Tea-cup Cottage’s Blue Tongue Adventure program, Fritz became an instant hit baking treats for its hospitality workshop.
Blue Tongue were so impressed that they offered Fritz a job at their commercial kitchen on the Gold Coast.
There he bakes their best-selling cookie with Smarties, but Fritz’s favourite comes with white chocolate chips.
“I like mixing the ingredients the best, and cleaning up afterwards,” he said.
Fritz says his interest in cooking comes from his Filipino heritage and watching his dad prepare family meals.
“I want to be like my dad,” he said. “Cooking helps me to improve myself.”
With help from his support worker, Fritz now has the skills and confidence to be able to work extra hours.
His boss, Tea-cup Cottage founder and Blue Tongue Pantry owner Alex Shaw, says Fritz was an immediate standout in the kitchen.
“Fritz has incredible attention to detail and takes such pride in his work,” Alex said.
“It’s important to him that the products he bakes for sale are of consistently high quality.
“Ever since joining Blue Tongue Adventure’s programs, Fritz has shown a love of all areas of hospitality.
“We were delighted to offer him this role in our commercial bakery – it’s just one of many employment avenues for participants of our programs.”
When he’s not baking, Fritz enjoys riding his BMX bicycle, listening to country music singer, Keith Urban, and playing with his cavoodle, Chino.
With his NDIS supports in place, Fritz has a goal of becoming a waiter while also continuing his work in the kitchen.
He hopes to use these all-round hospitality skills to open his own café in the future.
“If I work hard, anything is possible,” Fritz said.