Macphie news | Our very own Great British Bakers: Alan Leith

As The Great British Bake Off continues to dominate our TV screens and Twitter feeds, we hold the spotlight on our very own Great British Bakers.

This time we’re speaking to head of food applications, Alan Leith, about his love for bakery and how he came to be at Macphie.

What inspired you to become a baker?

Alan Hands 11I had a part time job working in an in-store bakery. Although I was only there to keep the place clean and tidy, I soon started helping the bakers to make strawberry tarts, ice donuts and make cream cakes – that was me hooked on baking!

What steps did you take to first become a baker?

I was at college studying business but I soon realised that I really wanted to become a baker and was fortunate enough to be offered an apprenticeship. My employer was also flexible and allowed me to study at college in order to gain my City and Guild qualifications.

I loved the technical and practical side of baking and soon left my job to go to college full time at Salford Tech in Manchester. There I completed higher level bakery qualifications and was lucky enough to get a job here at Macphie when I finished. That was 29 years ago now!

Can you tell us more about your current role here at Macphie?

As Head Baker here at Macphie I work with the Commercial Team to develop new business by ensuring that our products are fit for customers’ needs, suitable for different applications, top quality and dependable.

I also train the other bakers and the sales teams on how to use our products so they are fully equipped to support our customers.

What’s your favourite thing to bake and why?

I love making any type of crusty breads especially on a Friday when they can be enjoyed at home with some charcuterie and a nice glass of wine.

You were recently named a member of The Aberdeen Bakers Incorporation, can you tell us more about your role in this group?

Alan - 7 tradesThe Aberdeen Bakers Incorporation is one of the seven incorporated trades (Bakers, Fleshers, Weavers, Hammermen, Shoemakers, Tailors, Wrights and Coopers). It is an ancient organisation which existed to give members a license to trade in the city and to maintain standards within each craft.

The organisation has evolved and modernised but remains true to its roots. Even now, I had to prepare an essay and sit a practical test of making bread and rolls to be approved by the other members before I could join.

Being invited to become a member was a personal honour given only to people who can demonstrate a commitment to upholding the values and quality of the trade.

To anyone thinking of becoming a baker, what advice would you give them?

Be sure that you enjoy working with food. Take pride in the products that you make, strive for perfection every time, work hard and be interested in what you do. Never stop learning, try new things and make sure you have fun along the way!