‘Baker by name, Baker by trade’ – it’s a phrase that I use pretty much every week in our business dealings – and it’s true.
My surname is Baker, I’m from a long line of bakers and, yes, I am actually a qualified baker (and food scientist).
Fate certainly decided what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life…
I was born into a baking family in the late Sixties.
At that time my father had just left my grandfather’s bakery shop in Teignmouth, Devon to branch out on his own.
Dad bought a bakery in a small market town (Cullompton, Devon) and set about developing his business: Culm Vale Bakery – ‘Baker the Baker’.
My first baking memory was when I was 7 years old.
I recall my Dad lifting me out of bed, in the middle of the night, along with my brother Karl and he took us both down to the bakery (we lived above the shop and bakery).
Dad explained the dough mixer had broken down and he needed us to help him mix the bread dough. Dad lifted us both into an old Victorian dough trough (pictured below) and explained to us how to mix the ingredients together.
Karl and I thought this was great fun and proceeded to blend the sloppy ingredients with our hands and feet.
We disappeared in a cloud of flour as we thrashed about and laughed like drains– although once we noticed Dad was not laughing (the bread delivery van left at 6am) we got on with the task in hand.
There was dough to be mixed, bread to be baked and customers awaiting their early morning delivery – my first lesson in customer service.
I have many fond memories from growing up in a bakery: standing on a stool to ice chocolate eclairs, pinching chocolate flakes to eat on the way to school, weekend egg fights with my brother (no egg custards that Monday morning = Dad not happy), peeling sacks of potatoes and onions for pasties to earn pocket money and listening to farmer’s wives delight over our fresh cream sponges to name just a few. Soaking up the ebb and flow of a provincial bakery’s daily (and nightly!) activity stood me in good stead for my future career.
I went on to work with my father in his second bakery in Newton Abbot (Julie’s Hot Bread Kitchen) and from there left Devon to pursue my bakery career.
My ambition was to always learn about bakery methods and products across many countries and Continents.
Working at Carrs Foods has allowed me (and our team) to travel all over the world and develop business in various bakery markets.
We now supply great quality baked goods to a number of countries and our team take pride in both our products and services.
On a personal level all of my years in bakery has engendered a deep respect for the bakery trade and the people involved in all aspects of the trade.
My only regret is Paul Hollywood nicked my gig…