John Waterfield, managing director of Lancashire craft bakery chain Waterfields, scooped the prestigious Baker of the Year prize as British Baker held its spectacular 20th annual Baking Industry Awards this week.

The James Bond-themed event, hosted by actress Joanna Lumley, took place on Monday, 17 September, at the five-star Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane, in London.

Waterfield was awarded Vandemoortele’s prize in recognition of his talent, dynamism and sustained commitment to the highest standards of quality at his Lancashire-based business. The business also picked up the Rank Hovis-sponsored Craft Bakery Award.

"We were up against two very good businesses each time and I can’t say I was confident of winning because of that," said Waterfield,"so we’re really pleased. The industry is very different now from 10 years ago and we’re trying to evolve to encourage younger people in."

Other winners included the rapidly-expanding Maple Leaf Bakery UK, which was named Bakery Food Manufacturer of the Year, beating off competition from finalists pudding company Farmhouse Fare and Ginsters in the ADM-sponsored category.

Marketing and strategy director Guy Hall, who picked up the prize, commented: "I am utterly deligh-ted. We really feel we have arrived on the bakery scene now."

Bakery Supplier of the Year, sponsored by Sainsbury’s, went to Bells of Lazonby. Michael Bell commented: "For Bells to have won the Bakery Supplier of the Year category is a terrific accolade for all our staff because our people are our business."

In the battle of the supermarket in-store bakeries, sponsored by Délifrance, Asda’s Boldon store in Tyne & Wear emerged the best in the UK, with Sainsbury’s London Colney store in Hertfordshire, Tesco in Meltham Lane, Chesterfield and Halfway Morrisons in Sheffield highly commended. Ian Dobbie, MD of Délifrance, said: "I was very impressed by the standards of entry and particularly the finalists. It was a fantastic evening and we are delighted to be a major sponsor."

Neil McGill, bakery development director of Asda, said: "I am absolutely thrilled at Asda winning. It is even better than kissing Joanna Lumley when presenting our own Marketing Award - and kissing her takes some beating!"

Some 900 guests from across the industry saw Stamp Collection Foods win the Healthy Bakery Concept of the Year, sponsored by Tesco. Katharine Hodgkinson, of Stamp Collection, said: "We are so excited to have won. It’s a great boost for us and for all people with food intolerances."

The Customer Focus Award, sponsored by BakeMark UK, went to Cuisine de France for work with holiday park company Bourne Leisure on its retail offer. John Lindsay, business unit director and country manager of BakeMark UK said: "We notice the quality of entries getting better each year. It’s a vibrant and heady atmosphere at the awards and a fantastic occasion for the industry."

Meanwhile, the British Baker Special Award for Services to the Industry went to John Gillespie, who recently retired from ingre- dients supplier Macphie.

New categories this year were Patissier of the Year, sponsored by Puratos, which went to Ernst Bachmann of Bachmann’s Patisserie in Surrey. He said: "This award will really create ripples. We only have one shop, but when you win, lots of people come to you for advice."

And the Food-to-Go Innovation Award, sponsored by Christian Salvesen, went to Monty’s Bakehouse, Kent.

Rickmansworth’s Cinnamon Square, a fledgling bakery-cum-training academy triumphed twice, winning Rich Products’ Skills Achievement Award and the Asda-sponsored Marketing Award.

"The Marketing Award was great to win because we were up against two very well-established companies and we’re not even two years old yet," said owner Paul Barker.

Terry Tang, of Terry Tang designer cakes, winner of the Renshaw-sponsored Celebration Cake Maker of the Year, said: "We’re a small family business, so this award means a lot to us. We’re going to put the trophy in the shop and the certificate on the wall so that all our customers can see."

l For a full report, see pgs 15-22.