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This year’s Rising Star Award finalists aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty – in fact, they are frequently found covered in flour at the bakeries they work for.

They represent the best and brightest people who are in the earlier stages of their baking careers, which is exactly what the category – sponsored by Unox – aims to shine a light on.

Meet the rising stars of the UK baking industry:

Jordan Skeet, a baker at Bread Source, sprinkling flour onto pastry

Source: Bread Source

Jordan Skeet, Bread Source

Jordan says the baking industry has had a transformative impact on his life, giving him direction and a purpose at a time when he felt he had lost his way in life. He currently works as a night supervisor at Bread Source in Norfolk and is also undertaking an apprenticeship (Scottish Bakers National Food & Drink training – Baker Level 2). Under the tutelage of Baker of the Year 2020 Steven Winter, he takes an active role in product development with one notable achievement being the creation of the Infinity Loaf, which is made from leftover loaves.

His ultimate goal is to establish a sustainable bakery empire that encompasses a range of initiatives aimed at improving access to better bread for all.

Jordan’s can-do attitude and thirst for knowledge wowed the judges. When asked why he would like to win the Rising Star Award, Jordan said he “just wanted to give everything I’ve got out of baking back into the industry”. It was this thoughtful yet tenacious spirit which the judges felt made him worthy of a place as a finalist.


A female baker in a grey apron and hair net holding a tray of hot cross buns

Source: Stir Bakery

Molly Eastol, Stir Bakery

Molly has always been passionate about baking, having been a proud home baker since childhood taking inspiration from her great grandparents, who were bakers. Having studied science at university, she took her first steps into the professional world of bakery in 2022 when she joined Stir Bakery in Cambridge as an assistant baker. She was quickly promoted to the role of baker with supervision of other staff.

During this time Stir Bakery has more than doubled in size, and Molly is described as being a “vital part of the incredible success story”, rising to the challenge by taking on more responsibility but also driving product innovation. She is described as the “heartbeat” of the Stir Bakery bread team, launching the Spinach & Feta Savoury Bun, and redeveloping Hot Cross Buns for Easter 2023.

She impressed the judges with her technical knowledge and also her aptitude for management, which has seen her take a leading role in planning the bakery’s production schedule. Her passion is abundant, and she frequently comes into work having already been baking for several hours at home to hone her skills and experiment with new recipes. She wants to inspire more woman to step into the bread section of bakeries and make the industry a more appealing career for young people.


A blonde haired female baker in denim apron shaping bread dough

Source: Wylde Bakery

Naomi Spaven, Wylde Bakery

Naomi works as head baker at Wylde Bakery in Bebington on the Wirral, where she produces a variety of bread, cakes, biscuits, and more. She is also undertaking a Level 2 apprenticeship via Coleg Cambria Company with tutor Daryl Stephenson.

She transitioned to a career in baking following the loss of her mum in 2021. After this she decided she wanted to “spend my working life doing something that I loved”.

Naomi’s passion for baking shone through and the judges were impressed by her enthusiasm but also knowledge and commitment to the craft. They praised her excellent work ethic and were particular impressed that she was able to retrofit domestic equipment to function in a professional bakery environment when Wylde Bakery experienced delays in the delivery of new equipment.

She consistently looks beyond herself and is keen to inspire the next generation of bakers, doing so through talks at her former high school as well as through a regular slot on BBC Radio Wales. She also shares her passion through her blog LittleWelshFoodie and even worked on a campaign with the Welsh Government demonstrating the benefits of being a baker and the support open to young people who wish to join the hospitality industry.

Thanks to our category sponsor

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