Former Baker of the Year Chris Pollard has returned to the UK to open a new French-inspired bakery and patisserie.

Pollard, who won the title at British Baker’s Baking Industry Awards in 2002, has purchased a three-floor premises on the High Street in Tunbridge Wells. Pollard is set to transform the site into La Roche, named after his château in France.

The new premises will include a shop on the ground floor, with a bakery in the basement and a patisserie laboratory located on the second floor, which will be run by his wife Harpal. The couple are due to open the new bakery at Easter.

Speaking about the new bakery, Pollard said: “We have managed big bakery businesses in the past, so when we decided to move back to Blighty this year, we wanted to keep La Roche as a small, but beautiful boutique-style bakery. We saw the Tunbridge Wells location and thought it lends itself to what we want to do – produce beautiful pastries and bread and build up a regular, dedicated clientele who want to come back for more.”

The bakery couple hopes to link La Roche to the French château in the future as a residential holiday destination, where people can learn about the history of bread.

Pollard added: “People whom we hope will be fascinated by the products we make and sell on-site at La Roche may then want to learn more about where they came from and how we produce them. We can then give them that insight and a taste of the French influences in our work.”

Pollard previously ran the Le Papillon Patisserie London chain, before moving to France three years ago.