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A police officer, a firefighter, a teacher, a hospital worker and a paramedic walk into a bakery ...

What sounds like the start of a classic joke will become reality next Friday when The Whipped Baker Cafe, based in the Historic Village, holds a unique event to celebrate Tauranga's essential workers.

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Owner Frances Cooper said the various essential workers had been invited to participate in a doughnut eating competition in which they will tackle the dinner plate-sized Kiwiana doughnut.

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"We were talking about having a doughnut eating competition and apparently there's an International Donut Day on Friday [June 5]. That kind of sparked something and we thought 'let's do something like that down in the village'.

"With this Covid-19 and the lockdown, people have been flogging their butts off working. I had a bit of a Google about International Donut Day and apparently, in 1938, the Salvation Army in Chicago started it to celebrate those working on the frontline."

Cooper said the doughnut in question would be a challenge for one person to finish so the essential workers have their work cut out for them - it is usually sold to be served at parties in place of a birthday cake.

"It's the true blue ultimate injected Whipped Baker doughnut and it's full Kiwiana style. It has Pinky and Flake and Picnic bars on top of it, it's completely dipped in chocolate ganache, it's filled with cream and salted caramel. It's about eight inches in diameter."

The Whipped Baker Cafe's Aaron and Frances Cooper have organised for essential workers to take on their giant Kiwiana-themed doughnut. Photo / George Novak
The Whipped Baker Cafe's Aaron and Frances Cooper have organised for essential workers to take on their giant Kiwiana-themed doughnut. Photo / George Novak

Competition is set to be heated as a representative from each of the five essential services steps up in an attempt to earn bragging rights for their profession as well as a $500 voucher to shout their workmates lunch from the cafe.

The Whipped Baker Cafe is also running a special on the day, with their regular-sized doughnuts available to essential workers at a reduced price of two for $5.

"The competition creates a little bit of excitement and it brings people together to celebrate our community and the people in it, it's nice to have something to look forward to. It won't cost the competitors anything, apart from their poor tummies.

"It's our way of saying thank you. We wanted to do something a little bit fun to show our appreciation for all the work that they've done."

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The Whipped Baker Cafe's Kiwiana-themed donut is the size of a dinner plate and sells for $35. Photo / George Novak
The Whipped Baker Cafe's Kiwiana-themed donut is the size of a dinner plate and sells for $35. Photo / George Novak

Representing the teachers at the competition table will be Tauranga Intermediate's Reuben Potaka.

"I'm not sure how I was selected, I think the principal might be picking on me a little bit. I think he's stitched me up to be honest," he said.

"It's awesome though. Anything to show the people who did their part during lockdown that it's appreciated. There was no real sort of celebration of those who worked so it's a nice way to celebrate that, doing their part for the country and getting back on track."

He said the giant doughnut would be a good challenge.

"I'm a big fella but I don't eat a lot of bad food so it will be a challenge for the stomach. Back in my day I was able to put away a decent feed but I'm not sure how a donut will sit. I'll definitely be popular with my workmates if I win that voucher."

The competition kicks off at 1.30pm on June 5 at the Whipped Baker Cafe at Tauranga's Historic Village.