Bakers’ Fair saw a healthy visitor turnout brave the rain to make the trip to Bolton Arena last weekend. Exhibitors included suppliers of machinery, ingredients, finished goods and packaging, and the Fair also played host to the seventh annual Richemont Club competition, with the Live Cake Decoration Challenge drawing a big audience.

The Stage Area saw a series of talks, the first of which came from Mike Holling, Birds of Derby, and chairman of the NAMB, who spoke on the importance of having a business disruption action plan to minimise the recovery time of your business in the event of fire, flood or exclusion from the premises. He said it was important not to think it would never happen, as it was quite alarming how many fires do occur in this industry. He gave examples of how Birds had coped with a fire at one of its shops, as well as the temporary closure of its bakery in Derby due to an explosion at a neighbouring premises. His tips for a business distruption plan included having an alternative trading policy, as well as a short-term and longer-term business recovery plan. He said it was important to speak to your customers and let them know what was happening, as well as ensuring all employees were up-to-date with the situation, and informing suppliers if deliveries could not be made for any reason. Holling explained that Birds also has a list of available facilities for the temporary manufacture and distribution of its products, which are available to them in the event of an emergency.

Tracey Sharpe, Innoseal introduced the bakery and confectionery industry to the ’Professional Innosealer’, and explained why the firm believes it offers more than traditional bag closure systems. She explained how the product was easy to apply, and had a resealable and tamper-evident seal, and invited visitors up to the stage where she demonstrated how the Innosealer worked. She also revealed that the firm is currently trialling a fully automated version of the Innosealer.

Mike Holling spoke about the importance of a shop’s appearance both inside and out. He said bakers needed to think about their business from their customers’ viewpoint, as well as ascertaining what they might be getting wrong. Is it well lit? Does it look fresh, and clean? These were the questions he said bakers needed to ask themselves. He also spoke about the importance of interesting, eye-catching and regularly updated window displays.

Claire Brown, EPOS Solutions, spoke about what to look for in a good EPOS supplier. They should understand your industry, what your business is about, your key products and key areas of concern, said Brown. She explained that they also needed to understand the technology and be able to apply it to their business effectively.

Sandwiches with a difference

Finally John Robertshaw, consultant baker, Bako North Western gave a sandwich demonstration, using a range of different breads and fillings, before handing out his creations to a very appreciative audience. The sandwich fillings included roasted pancetta and peppers; meatballs; Swiss cheese delight; sliced beef with horseradish mayonnaise; prawns in a Bloody Mary mayonnaise; and chicken with green pesto.

At the end the day, the winners of the Richemont Club competitions were announced. The President’s Challenge Cup was shared by two teams for the first time this year, as the judges couldn’t decide between the farmyard-themed cakes made by Linda Connelly and Debbie Grierson from Classic Celebration Cakes and Dave Wilson and Melony Hughes from Slattery’s Patissier & Chocolatier, in the Live Cake Decoration Challenge. Best in show went to Sueraine Rose, Rose the Bakers, for her novelty celebration cake and the Richemont Trophy was won by Arthur Chatwin. The British Baker trophy, presented by BB editor Sylvia Macdonald, was awarded to Laura Littlejohn, Tameside College.

Richemont Club Competition winners

Three Sausage RollsSueraine Rose Rose the Bakers
Three Meat PastiesRob Taylor Chatwins
One Vegetarian ProductTony Bain Glovers
One Quiche LorraineRachel Wilkinson Chatwins
One Brown Tin LoafNigel Attwell Chatwins
One Multigrain CobPaul Wallwork Glovers
One White Plaited LoafSueraine Rose Rose the Bakers
Four Fresh CreamsMichael Wilde Slattery’s
Four Danish PastriesRachel Wilkinson Chatwins
Four Christmas FanciesJanette Ramsden Slattery’s
Four PastriesRob Taylor Chatwins
One Novelty Celebration CakeSueraine Rose Rose the Bakers
One Sugar Paste ModelEmma Chamberlain Slattery’s
Four Halloween CupcakesDawn Dean Chatwins
One Christmas CakePatricia Peel Chatwins
One Christmas PuddingRob Taylor Chatwins
One Chocolate LogHelen Murrell Chatwins
Four Fruit SconesHayley Davies Tameside College
One Oven-bottom LoafLaura Littlejohn Tameside College
Four Novelty CupcakesCraig Wright Chatwins
Milling & Baking TrophyArthur Chatwin
Rank Hovis TrophyArthur Chatwin
CSM TrophyArthur Chatwin
Renshaw TrophySlattery’s Patissier & Chocolatier
British Bakels Christmas TrophyArthur Chatwin
British Baker TrophyLaura Littlejohn Tameside College
The President’s Challenge CupJoint Winners Slattery’s Patissier & Chocolatier and Classic Celebration Cakes
Classic Celebration Cakes
Best in ShowRose the Bakers (Novelty Celebration Cake)
Richemont TrophyArthur Chatwin