De Gustibus’s Oxfordshire bakery has been destroyed in a fire.
The blaze ripped through the artisan baker’s Abingdon plant on Wednesday night (10 September), damaging most of the building before firefighters arrived. Owner Dan Schickentanz said: “Only the walls are left standing – the place is completely gutted.”
Schickentanz said he was mystified as to the cause of the blaze. The factory has recently been completely rewired.
Police are keeping an open mind about the cause – they are to check CCTV footage from the time leading up to the blaze. Sniffer dogs found no trace of accelerant at the scene, Schickentanz said.
Within 12 hours of the fire, De Gustibus had moved its operation into a smaller unit in London, and is currently able to meet about 80% of its supply commitments.
Schickentanz said his staff had been hugely supportive, working tirelessly to get the second factory up and running. “I find the dedication of the people standing behind me absolutely incredible,” he told British Baker.
Suppliers have also lent their support, with Shipton Mill sending some replacement flour and JR Trollies sending down extra equipment.
One part of the Abingdon factory may be saved, Schickentanz said, adding it could be up and running within four weeks. “From there, we will come rising like a phoenix out of the ashes,” he said.
De Gustibus is widely regarded as one of the best craft bakeries in the UK, with customers including Fortum & Mason and the Hilton and Cadogan hotel groups. It has won two British Baker Baking Industry Awards – Independent Baker of the Year 1997 and Best Baker of the Year in 1998.