The Peebles Hydro Hotel was the setting for the Scottish Association of Master Bakers’ (SAMB) ‘James Scott’ technical sessions, held on 29 May. Presentations ranged from the art of pulled sugar modelling to staff recruitment and new bakery investment.

In the first session, Ian McInally, lecturer in catering studies from the department of food at Glasgow Metropolitan College, gave a short description of pulled sugar and its range of applications. He also gave several demonstrations, including finishing off a basket of fruit with further pieces of ‘blown’ sugar fruit, a pulled sugar ribbon and some pulled sugar flowers. In addition, he constructed a swan and added it to a display of orchids on a piece of driftwood.

Canada trip

The SAMB’s 40 Group study tour to Vancouver, which took place in October last year, was the subject of the second session. Campbell’s Bakery’s Iain Campbell described the group’s trip, which included bakery visits and social events in Vancouver, the culmination of 18 months planning.

JobCentre Plus external relationship manager Linda Prattis gave delegates advice on staff recruitment in the third session of the day, including how to make job application form layouts and advertisements more appealing and how local job centres can help with sourcing new employees. She also touched on the funding available for employing certain classes of unemployed people and the employment of people with disabilities.

Moving stories

In the day’s final session, Gordon McGhee of McGhee’s Bakery in Glasgow; George Stevenson of Mathiesons, Falkirk; Alan Stuart of Stuarts of Buckhaven; and Alan Marr of Aulds (Food), Inchinnan, participated in a session entitled ‘We Invested in New Bakeries’.

McGhee and Stuart described how they found sites, planned and built from scratch bakeries to suit their individual product range, volume, production and distribution requirements. Stevenson described how Mathiesons sourced a suitable existing building and discussed the pros and cons of converting it into a bakery to meet all its storage, production quality control, distribution and food safety requirements. And Marr discussed the fire that completely destroyed its desserts facility in Inchinnan, and the speed at which it resumed production in temporary premises. Within eight weeks, the company had constructed a 25,000sq ft semi-permanent, fully air-conditioned factory at Inchinnan.