A Scottish baker has been nominated for a BBC Food and Farming Award for his commitment to producing real bread.
Former BBC producer Andrew Whitley, who runs Bread Matters bakery in Peeblesshire, has been put forward as one of three finalists for the Derek Cooper Award. It recognises individuals or organisations doing the most to bring about real change in our relationship with food.
Whitley set up the Real Bread Campaign, which aims to champion handmade bread, using only the necessary ingredients. French chef and baker Richard Bertinet is one of several ambassadors for the campaign and won the BBC Food Champion of the Year Award in 2010.
Whitley said: “It’s great when you think about the bread sector that we’re a very small community, but have been featured two years in a row so prominently in these awards. We are taking a new approach to bread and now is the time to put the old ways to bed.
“The Real Bread Campaign grew from the need to know how bread is made. We should be encouraging people to challenge bakers and come clean about what is going into their bread – if it includes any enzymes or additives and how it is being made.”
Whitley also runs training and bakery classes at his West Linton-based bakery, including a course on Baking for the Community, which looks at the whole picture from making bread, turning it into a successful business and how a bakery can support the whole community.
“Bakers are the glue of the community; it’s a useful job to aspire to and is helping in the revival of local economies,” added Whitley. “It also provides an interaction of meeting around bread, which is important to the physical and mental good health of communities.
“We should be encouraging young people and teaching them the craft by hand. It gives them that sense of skill and self-worth, but we cannot do that without positioning our bakeries as something truly admirable.”
Whitley is up against food charity FareShare, which aims to address issues with hunger and food waste, alongside The Food for Life Partnership, a network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture.
Winners will be announced at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham on 23 November.