January

Springing into Easter

In the blink of an eye Christmas is gone, it's the New Year and the time of resolutions - eat less, drink less, and yes, now spend less. At some point between Christmas and the New Year the left-over mince pies do their disappearing acts to make way for the definitive mountains of hot cross buns. In Britain we're a bit thin on the ground as far as the choice of Easter baked goods are concerned, which surely must be a little commercially short-sighted. Why is there less innovation in breads and cakes at Easter than at Christmas?

Ovens at a glance

Sveba-Dahlen ovens and provers

Fact file

l Sveba-Dahlen makes rack ovens, deck ovens, pizza ovens, tunnel ovens and provers of all sizes

Swede success

Think of Swedish food and pickled herring and meatballs are bound to come to mind. The good news for Swedish bakers is that both these national delicacies are usually served with bread. Visit a Swedish restaurant and the table will likely feature a basket of various types of bread - from traditional rye to Continental specialities such as French sticks and Italian ciabattas.

At a glance

History: First opened in 1936 by Chris' father, before Chris joined in 1968. Chris' son Douglas is also a baker, working at The Cavan Bakery in Hampton, Middlesex

Beaney's top tips

l It pays to have several suppliers, so you can negotiate better deals. We buy our flour from ADM, Heygates and Marriages - it keeps them on their toes

Beaney's holds its nerve

Chris Beaney must be one of the few people left in the country with a good word to say about the banks. The owner of Beaney's Bakery in Strood, Kent, who is also currently President of the National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB), recently secured generous financial backing from his local Barclays to take over a shop and bakery in the nearby town of Snodland in West Malling. "My bank manager has been really supportive. I was surprised how keen he was to help out when I went to see him about buying the bakery," says Beaney.

What winning meant to us

"When you win something, my first feeling is for the staff, as it's fantastic for them, but my second is for the two companies that didn't win. Everyone did a fantastic job and we were very proud to be nominated, and to be recognised for doing a good job. However, it's all very well saying that we're the best, but now we've got to carry on being the best - I use it as a bit of a motivating tool."

View from the awards night

"It was the first time I had been to an awards night, but I felt very much at ease all evening, and I really did enjoy it. It was nice to meet people, because the baking industry is an incredible trade - you can still go to bed at night excited about what you're going to do the next day. One thought I had at the awards, when I looked around the room at everyone there, was: 'Blimey, I hope I can be as good as all of them'."

Cornish champion

Cornish baker WC Rowe had never competed for a Baking Industry Award before, but a mixture of curiosity, pride and belief spurred them on and 2008 saw the company triumph in the Bakery Supplier of the Year category. Distributing branded and own-brand to all the major multiples - Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Somerfield, as well as Supplier of the Year award sponsor Sainsbury's - the firm has a story to tell and one it wants people to hear.

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