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Baker of the Year showcases the very best bakers the UK has to offer. The winner and finalists proved to be talented, ambitious and dedicated to the craft they perform daily.
Winner: Peter Doughty-Cook
Peter Doughty-Cook describes his business Peter Cooks Bread as his best achievement to date.
The bakery, nestled in the Malvern Hills in Hereford, has been open for eight years predominantly serving the wholesale market. In the past couple of years Peter has embedded a greater sense of pace of innovation and product development to complement his core rye-based range and make sure customers keep coming back for more. The bakery’s Wild Hops & Barley Loaf took home the title of Britain’s Best Loaf in 2020.
He’s a hands-on baker but also dedicates a lot of time to training his staff. Currently there are four young bakers working alongside him, none of whom worked as bakers before they joined Peter Cooks Bread. With them, Peter spends time between all sections of the bakery – mixing, table preparation and oven – teaching, advising, and supporting them as they grow as bakers.
Peter admits he was originally against the idea of personalising the bakery around himself but acknowledges that it has paid off. “I have to admit it has worked as customers know I am responsible for every loaf, bun and pastry and have confidence in my ‘brand’,” he says.
New lines include an extensive vegan range, Red Pepper, Feta & Caramelised Onion Danish and Sunshine Tea Loaf made with organic ciabatta flour. The judges tasted two of the most recent products – a Honey, Mint & Courgette Focaccia and a Chocolate Custard Cruffin. “I could have eaten that Cruffin all day,” said one of the judges.
Finalist: Dan Booth
Dan runs an organic bakery called Bakerman in Darlington where he handles all aspects of business, including production. He also leads all training which includes a scheme run for vulnerable young adults that he’d like to expand further.
He’s had a great 2022 having scooped the title of Britain’s Best Loaf 2022 in April for his Parmesan & Black Pepper Sourdough Loaf as well as coming first in the Innovation category for his Turmeric, Red Onion & Nigella Seed Sourdough.
The Baking Industry Awards judges sampled the winning loaf and pronounced it “absolutely delicious”, as were the brioche and sweet buns made using a sourdough culture.
“He was covered in flour when we arrived,” said the judges, adding, “His passion really shone through.”
Finalist: Steven Traill
Steven runs Rain Bakery on the high street at Fort William and manages six other full-time staff.
He trained as a chef but now focuses fully on his great love of bread, pastries, and viennoiserie, and passes on his skills and knowledge to the other bakers in this tight-knit team. Steven is proud of the reputation his products have built up in Fort William and that Rain has become a destination outlet for fresh foods in the Highlands.
He likes to keep a close eye on food trends and, wherever he travels, takes time out to visit other bakeries and sample their products. The judges said Steven’s products were beautifully presented, tasted amazing, and were a “real wow”.
Baking Industry Awards 2022 winners revealed
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Peter Doughty-Cook named Baker of the Year 2022