Bexhill Farm Kitchen has been awarded Britain’s Best Loaf at the Bakers’ & Butchers’ Autumn Fair.
Held at the Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate on 27 October, Lee Smith, owner of Bexhill Farm Kitchen, East Sussex won the title with his cumin and chickpea sourdough, originally produced for a Persian restaurant.
Smith said: “It feels fantastic to win. It’s surprising but I’m really, really pleased. Obviously, you enter it wanting to win, but I love just looking at other types of bread and getting ideas.
“I would definitely recommend other bakers to enter the competition, even if it’s just to look at other people’s loaves.”
Smith also won the Innovation category with his sourdough, as well as the White Loaf category for his seeded bloomer.
Smith started his career as a baker and pastry chef in 1984 with an apprenticeship at Saffron Patisserie in Eastbourne, combined with studies at Brighton Catering College.
Established over 60 years ago, Bexhill Farm Kitchen was bought by present owners Lee and Kirsty Smith in December 2003.
Sourdough Loaf of the Year was won by Season’s Cakes for its tomato and herb sour by Dan Nemeth, and Wholegrain Loaf of the Year was won by Hughes Family Bakers for their 800g loaf, collected by Luke Hartley.
Commenting on the fair, Martyn Leek, judge and editor of British Baker, said: “We were blown away by the quality of loaves that were entered into the search for Britain’s Best Loaf. The standard was amazing and the judges had a hard time in deciding the overall winner. But in the end the winning loaf just had that ‘extra-special’ something that took it ahead of the rest.
“I’d like to thank the judges for their time and all those who entered the competition. We look forward to running it again next year.”
Other competitions included the National Pie Competition, open to bakers and butchers, with the winners as follows:
Pork Pie of the Year: Simon Haigh, Bolster Moor Farm Shop
Savoury Pie of the Year: Simon Haigh, Bolster Moor Farm Shop
Steak and Kidney Pie of the Year: Karl Jones, Valley Butchers
Pasty of the Year: Emily Hofmann, Hofmann’s
For more information on the Fair head to www.bakersandbutchersfair.co.uk