Martyn Leek reports from the recent Scottish Bakers’ conference, which saw the Scottish Baker of the Year awarded and a varied day of speakers. Here are a series of articles and photos from the event.
Roll back 12 months and the Scottish Bakers had a problem.
The night before its conference in 2013, chief executive Alan Clarke received the news that celebrity baker Paul Hollywood had flown to America for personal reasons. So the organisation turned to speaker Mich Turner to host the whole conference and awards. She was so good, filling in at the 11th hour, that Scottish Bakers asked her back in 2014.
And this time she bought her partner from the ITV television show Britain’s Best Bakery, Peter Sidwell. The duo were on hand to explain what they think it takes to win their show – and what bakeries have the winning formula.
Sidwell and Turner have visited more than 100 bakeries and tasted around 600 products during their time as the judges for the ITV show. And the duo, speaking in Glasgow, advised bakers to look at their businesses as though they were customers and to focus on being different.
Turner, owner of the Little Venice Cake Company, said: “Think about what you think your brand stands for and ask your customers what you think your business stands for.”
Produced by Shine TV, the company also behind BBC’s MasterChef, there have been two series of Britain’s Best Bakery, which is ITV’s answer to The Great British Bake Off. In February this year the title was awarded to The Cake Shop Bakery in Suffolk.
Turner said she and Sidwell were well placed as judges because they run their own businesses. “We both have our own businesses, we have seen from the grass roots up,” she explained. “It’s really important that you understand yourselves. Are you about quality, convenience? What are your key values?”
Sidwell said it was important for bakers to have a “clarity” to their brand – and cited the example of Apple and Jamie Oliver. He argued that customers know what they are getting when they visit a Jamie Oliver restaurant or buy an Apple product.
WELCOME: Mich Turner with new Scottish Bakers’ president John Gall