What does your job involve?
I oversee production from our two bakeries, ensuring procedures, standards and quality are maintained. I am also responsible for the management and training of production staff (10 in total), the development of new products, sourcing ingredients and managing stock control. I have daily contact with our four shops and many wholesale clients and am responsible for the daily production orders and schedules.
How did you end up being a baker?
It’s a long story! My father [Chris Beaney, former president of the National Association of Master Bakers] and grandfather were both bakers, so I grew up in a baking environment, helping in the bakery from a young age and working my first night shift when I had just turned 16.
However, I decided I wanted to follow a different career path so studied geology at university and got a job working for an environmental consultancy. I was in an office inputting information into spread-sheets and I soon found that it didn’t really fire me up. I went travelling to New Zealand with a friend and, while I was there, worked in a bakery, which reignited my passion for the industry and made me rethink my future. The day I returned, I started a two-year BTEC course at the National Bakery School in London.
Where have you worked?
While studying at the bakery school I gained experience working in my family bakery and also at Patisserie Valentin in Heathfield, East Sussex, and Swanley Bakery in Kent. I then worked full-time for Beaney’s Bakery, and then ran a packed-lunch business for six months while in France during a ski season. In May 2006, I moved to London and joined Breads Etcetera in Clapham, helping them to achieve gold awards at the Great Taste Awards. I started at Cavan in 2007. We have also had success at the Great Taste Awards, winning gold awards for our Wholemeal Farmhouse Loaf and Pumpkin Rye Bread.
What motivates you?
I enjoy developing new products by experimenting with flavours, ingredients and production methods. I love the hands-on nature of the work. It can be hard work, but there’s nothing more satisfying than creating something with your own hands, which gives people enjoyment. It’s inspiring to get a positive reaction from colleagues and customers who try a product you have made for the first time.