In a special Christmas feature, British Baker has asked its 2014 Baking Industry Awards (BIA) winners to tell us what they are predicting for 2015.
All 11 winners will send us their plans for the next year and, in a grand finale, we at British Baker will offer our own thoughts on what lies ahead for the baking industry.
Kicking off our BIA 12 Days of Christmas is Baker of the Year, Mark Bennett.
In an exciting move, the baker said he plans to add a bakery school to the business next year, and has ambitions to write a book.
“2014 has been an amazing year for us at Patisserie Mark Bennett. Obviously, winning Baker of the Year was the highlight of the past 12 months, but along with this we won eight medals at the World Bread Awards, including two golds.
“On the financial side we have also had a great year. We have only been in business for two-and-a-half years and we have three shops - we opened our third shop in April 2014, which increased our turnover by 50%. We are on course to turnover £1.25 million this year.
“2015 for Patisserie Mark Bennett, I think, will be very steady, as was 2014. Our shops are in very upmarket areas, so people still have a little money to spend, even when things get tough.
“We are planning to open a bakery school this year, in which we will run courses for housewives and professionals. On a personal note I would like to write a book. I have been asked to do this many times but have turned it down due to being too busy, but now I have three other bakers working with me, so this would now be possible.
“My advice to anyone who wants to listen is: keep it simple. Stop using bright-coloured heavy fondant icing, multi-coloured strands and plastic decorations and concentrate on using good-quality ingredients and getting your flavours right – it has worked for me!”