Cheltenham-based baker Dominic Salter has chased off stiff competition to claim the Baker of the Year Award at this year’s prestigious Baking Industry Awards.

Salter, who was a finalist in the category in 2014 and 2015, has seen his business increase so much in the past year, that he has had to open a new bakery to keep up with demand. While he still makes quiches and cakes at his bakery The Sandwich Box in Cheltenham, he has switched bread production for both wholesale and retail to his new, bigger bakery Salt Bakehouse at Stonehouse.

Receiving the award from celebrity host Matt Dawson and Ann Wells, marketing director of category sponsor Brook Food Equipment, Salter said: "It means absolutely everything. This was my third year up for it. This will make a massive difference to my business. Having this name against my business will be huge. I didn’t see this coming. I thought Lee (Smith) had won. Thank you so much."

Other major winners at the awards, held at the Park Lane Hilton in London last night (Wednesday 7 September) included Bedfordshire-based Signature Flatbreads, which scooped Bakery Manufacturer of the Year; Finsbury Food Group, which collected the Celebration Cake Business of the Year; and Eric Rousseau’s Belle Époque Patisserie, which took The Craft Business Award.

Claire Toynton of West Ealing, who has just gained a First in her Baking Technology Management degree at London’s Southbank University, walked off with the Rising Star Award. She is now starting work as a bakery technologist at Délifrance UK. Toynton said: "Oh my goodness, this is incredible. I never expected it. I was walking up to the stage and thought, ’This is a mistake?’ I couldn’t believe I was here. To win is such an amazing confidence  boost. To have somebody say, ’You’re doing the right thing and you’re on the right track’ is fantastic."

The Outstanding Contribution to the Industry, revealed at the awards night, was presented to Henry Jefferies from Reading, a well-known former craft baker, who subsequently devoted himself to teaching bakery throughout the country.

Meanwhile, Morrisons recaptured In-Store Bakery Retailer of the Year, which it last won in 2013, and Manchester-based Carrs Foods International scooped The Customer Focus Award.

In the two product category accolades, Speciality Bread of the Year was captured by Dorset-based Patisserie Mark Bennett for its fiery sourdough ‘Jurassic’ loaf, made with local beer, while Macclesfield-based Gluten Free Pie Co took the Free-From Product of the Year prize for its Pork, Black Pudding and Caramelised Red Onion Pie.

For more details go to The full list of awards and sponsors is as follows:

  • Baker of the Year, sponsored by Brook Food Equipment:
    Dominic Salter, The Sandwich Box and Salt Bakehouse
  • Bakery Manufacturer of the Year, sponsored by Sonneveld Group:
    Signature Flatbreads

  • Celebration Cake Business of the Year, sponsored by Renshaw:
    Finsbury Food Group
  • The Customer Focus Award, sponsored by CSM United Kingdom:
    Carrs Foods International

  • Free-From Product of the Year, sponsored by Ingredion UK:
    The Gluten Free Pie Co
  • In-Store Bakery Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Zeelandia:
  • Speciality Bread Product of the Year, sponsored by Bakels:
    Patisserie Mark Bennett
  • The Craft Business Award, sponsored by Dawn Foods:
    Belle Époque Patisserie
  • The Rising Star Award, sponsored by Piero Scacco:
    Claire Toynton, bakery technologist, Délifrance
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Baking Industry, sponsored by Délifrance:
    Henry Jefferies