At Monday night’s Baking Industry Awards, Piero Scacco won the coveted Baker of the Year title.

Sponsored by Vandemoortele, the accolade was presented to Scacco in front of a packed room of more than 800 members of the baking industry, assembled at London’s Grosvenor House hotel for the biggest annual event in the industry’s calendar.

Scacco sold his baguette business in 1992, after decades in the industry, and settled down to retire. Finding retirement "boring", he started all over again, setting up Montana Bakery in 1998. Scacco, who has secured listings with Waitrose and Marks & Spencer for his ambient, chilled and speciality breads, said: "I am over the moon! This is the ultimate accolade for my staff."

Sponsor Adrian Roberts of Vandemoortele said: "Piero has tremendous craft skills, and has developed and maintained a business that is making products of the finest quality. His attention to detail is outstanding, and not only does he support and develop his own staff, but he is always looking to put something back into the industry."

Other winners revealed by host Kate Thornton at the glitzy Las Vegas-themed bash included Cornish business W C Rowe, which was named Bakery Supplier of the Year, sponsored by Sainsbury’s. Managing director Alan Pearce said the award was a boost for Cornish passion, pride, ingredients and products. A second Cornish firm, Newquay’s Crantock Bakery, scooped Bakery Food Manufacturer of the Year, sponsored by ADM Milling. Crantock’s national sales manager Leigh Loomes said: "You could say this is the cherry on top of the pasty for us."

Jane Hatton, bakery tutor at Brooklands College, said she bagged The Achievement in Bakery Training Award, sponsored by Rich’s, after convincing the judges of the value of college training to the industry. "I showed the difference between training in industry and training within a college establishment," she said. "I likened it to an allotment in that I nurture people. Then I send them out to specific parts of the industry. To win was fantastic."

The Village Bakery, Melmerby impressed the judges by following though on its organic credentials, with marketing manager Lindsay Kilifin collecting The Organic Award, sponsored by Asda. She said: "The Village Bakery is a brand of integrity, founded from a real passion for organic."

Leanne Tang, who scooped Celebration Cake Maker of the Year, sponsored by Renshaw, beamed: "I’ve been a cake decorator for three years, but I really didn’t expect to win."

l Winner and finalist profiles, pgs 14-28. Full report, 3 October.

An "elated" Jane Jackson, from Quality Product of the Year winners Jackson the Bakers said: "It will mean a lot to our staff and our customers. We’ll definitely be entering again next year."


=== British Baker Award for Special Achievement ===

John Slattery, of Slattery Patissier & Chocolatier, was lost for words when he was presented with the British Baker Award for Special Achievement. Slattery won praise for building up a successful business, with clients including celebrities Wayne Rooney and wife Colleen. Judges also admired his willingness to share his expertise with other firms and help host events for organisations such as the International Richemont Club.

Speaking in front of the assembled guests at the BIA08 at Grosvenor House, Slattery (pictured right with BB editor Sylvia Macdonald) pledged his award to everybody working at the firm. "I’m gobsmacked. Getting this award means all the people at Slattery’s getting the award," he said. See also John Slattery profile, pg 15