The waiting is over - British Baker can now reveal the first batch of finalists in our Baking Industry Awards 2008.

The awards are widely recognised as a benchmark for quality and innovation in the UK baking industry, and the standard of entries for this year’s awards was higher than ever. Judging panels were selected by each spon- soring company and included an independent, expert judge approved by British Baker. The panels were impressed by the innovative approach of both individual and company finalists and shortlisting just three in each category (see panel) was tough.

Places at our glitzy Las Vegas-themed awards ceremony on 15 September are selling out fast. The black-tie event, to be held at London’s Grosvenor House hotel, will be hosted by TV personality Kate Thornton, who will call the winners to the stage.

To book your place at this important industry event, call Elizabeth Ellis on 01293 846593, email or visit []. Finalists in the remaining seven categories of the Baking Industry Awards will be revealed in future issues.

== Achievement in Bakery Training ==

Sponsored by: Rich’s

Julie Kemp, Bells of Lazonby

Jane Hatton, Brooklands College

Henry Jefferies, Self-employed Assessor

== Bakery Supplier of the Year ==

Sponsored by: Sainsbury’s


WC Rowe

Proper Cornish Food Company

== Customer Focus Award ==

Sponsored by: BakeMark

BB’s Coffee and Muffins

Monty’s Bakehouse

The London Bread & Cake Company

== Plant Product of the Year ==

Sponsored by: Puratos

Eurobuns - Skinny Doughnut

Memory Lane Cakes - Tesco Chocolate Cake

Hovis Bakery - Seed Sensations

== Celebration Cake Maker of the Year ==

Sponsored by: Renshaw

Amelia Nutting, Shuga Budz

Leanne Tang, Terry Tang Designer Cakes

Charlotte Feve, The Cakeroom

== Baker of the Year ==

Sponsored by: Vandemoortele

George Asher, Ashers Bakery

Piero Scacco, Montana Bakeries

Robin Jones, The Village Bakery


=== In Short ===

== Bath Bakery extends business ==

Bath Bakery has expanded with a new shop in Bradford-on-Avon. Managing director Joyce Jones explained they didn’t have plans to expand out of Bath, but it "just came along as an opportunity". The bakery, which has three other shops in Bath, took over the former premises of Crusty Bloomers, which closed earlier in the year.

== Warburtons’ donation ==

Staff at Warburtons in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, have donated £1,000 towards a new blood pressure machine at the Schiehallion Unit at Glasgow’s Yorkhill Hospital. The funds were raised by selling the company’s products at a trade show at discounted prices.

== Baker goes to No 10 ==

The owner of a bakery in South Glamorgan, Wales, attended a reception at 10 Downing Street to celebrate the success of small businesses in the UK. Alan Lamb from the Jolly Baker in Barry, which produces homemade pies and pasties, was invited as a guest of Vale of Glamorgan MP John Smith.

== Environmental pledge ==

So far, 40 companies have signed up to the Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) Environmental Checklist and Clause for Greener Food Transport, with a pledge to make fewer transport miles. Signatories include Associated British Foods, Britvic, Burton’s Foods, Warburtons, Premier Foods, Danone Waters UK and United Biscuits.

== Queen’s recognition ==

Food and drink firms are being encouraged to apply for the 2009 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. Firms can enter in up to three categories, including International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development. The deadline for applications is 31 October, 2008