Warrens Bakery has named a 17-year-old from Chichester as its first ever Young Budding Baker of the Year.

Florrie Smith, 17 (pictured right), was selected from thousands of entries across the UK and competed against four other regional finalists in a live final that took place at Nisbet’s National Catering Equipment Centre in Bristol this month. The other finalists were: Talia Cohen, 16, from Borehamwood; Sara Holly Grabham, 16, from London; Claudia Edyvean, 16, from St Austell; and Alfie Joliffe, 16, from Gosport.

The finalists were first tasked to show their ‘Baking Wizardry’ by creating a plaited bread, which would be judged on skills, flavour, appearance and texture. Then came the Pasty Challenge, which saw them create their own signature sweet or savoury pastry. Flavours included Marmite and cheese, curried cauliflower, and apple & cinnamon with a side of Cornish clotted cream.

In the third and final round, called ‘Get Creative’, the five teenagers had to transform a sponge cake into a centrepiece for a special occasion, with the judges looking for an excellent finish, exciting flavours and skilful technique, while showcasing their personality.

Winner Florrie Smith created a rainbow cake representing Pride events around the UK. Her prize includes a trip to Cornwall to visit Warrens Bakery at St Just to help develop a new bake to sell across the artisan bakery’s stores, and a one-to-one meeting with former Bake Off contestant and Waitrose columnist Martha Collison.

“This has been a day to remember. It proves to me that the craft of baking is alive and well, and that we have a generation of youngsters coming up who will take it bravely into the future. I can honestly say that every one of our finalists shows real promise, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we hear more about these talented teenagers in years to come,” said Warrens head baker Jason Jobling.

He judged the competition with Dean Starling, brand sales development chef for the National Catering Equipment Centre.