As the BBC’s Great British Bake Off takes over our screens for another year and gets everyone talking (seriously, the Jaffa Cake a cake or a biscuit?!), we’re putting the spotlight on our very own Great British Bakers. From gateaux to ganache and loaf cakes to lemon drizzle, they’ve done it all.
We asked our Applications Bakery Manager, Tom Hunter, to tell us more about his experience of the bakery world.
What inspired you to become a baker?
My dad is a baker to trade and occasionally he would take me to his place of work during weekends and school holidays. The bakers would let me play with bits of dough and ice biscuits and my passion for bakery spiralled from here.
What steps did you take to become a baker?
When I was 14 years old and still at school, my dad decided to open his own bakery. I was offered a Saturday job to earn my pocket money. However, it certainly wasn’t all about decorating wedding cakes! The task I remember the most was cleaning the canopy above the oven. I would come home looking like I had finished a shift down the coal mine!
What’s your favourite thing to bake and why?
I still love to bake even after 35 years in the business but I’d say bread and pastries are still my favourite to make. There is something very satisfying about taking a few raw ingredients and turning them into something that doesn’t resemble anything you started with.
To anyone thinking of becoming a baker, what advice would you give them?
To anyone wishing to become a baker my advice would be to take on an apprenticeship. Listen to your mentors and learn from their experience. Brush up on the basics then seek out opportunities to develop your skills and knowledge to see where it takes you.
These days there are so many career paths to choose from in the modern bakery world. You never know, you could end up being the next Paul Hollywood!