The search for the Scottish Baker of the Year for 2023/2024 has begun, as a competition in Inverness brought eight University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) students together competing under the theme ‘Scotland on a cake’.
In just 45 minutes, the students are tasked with following this brief, as Little Venice Cake Company Founder Mich Turner will be on hand to ensure fair play and assess the contestants’ efforts.
“We are back in Inverness to showcase the resilience and creativity of Scotland’s amazing bakery sector,” said Mich Turner MBE, Ambassador of Scottish Bakers, “And let’s face it, who doesn’t love a sweet treat, perfect pie or super sausage roll!
“And if you haven’t shopped in your local bakers for a while, perhaps now is the time to revisit them and try some of their fantastic fresh bakes. Each vote helps recognise the hard work and skill of your favourite local bakery and counts towards the Customer Choice awards.”
The students are Leah Scott, Jamie Walker and Tetiana Potakpo from Level 4 Professional Cookery; Ashley Chapman of Level 5; Louise Robertson of Level 6; and Lorraine Wormald, of HNC Hospitality Operations.
The students will be able to call upon advice on the day from current Scottish Baker of the Year, Paddy Murphy from the Three Little Bakers, based in Inverness, and President and Director of McGhees Bakery Ian McGhee, who is helping Scottish Bakers to shape the future direction of the sector in the coming two years.
“UHI Inverness has a well-deserved reputation for excellence in professional cookery and hospitality education, and I am delighted our Professional Cookery levels 4, 5, 6 and our HNC Hospitality Operations students are showcasing their skills for the launch of Scottish Baker of the Year,” said Nicola Macdonald, Head of School for Business, Computing and Hospitality at UHI Inverness.
The event marks the opening of customer voting for the Scottish Baker of the Year ‘Customer Choice’ awards. Shoppers vote for their favourite bakery and from this, Scottish Bakers will identify a ‘Customer Choice’ winner in each of the four business categories: Craft Baker, Retail Craft Baker, Wholesale Baker and Bakery Cafe.
Scotland’s bakers are also invited to submit products of their own choosing for judging across the categories: Biscuit, Bread, Individual Cake, Morning Roll, Savoury, Scone, Celebration Cake, Viennoiserie and Biscuits and Cakes.
“We are delighted to give the public a say with our Customer Choice awards. It’s a great opportunity for our members to reach out to their customers and communities and get people talking about great, traditional Scottish baking. It’s really easy to vote too, ask your bakery for their unique QR code to scan, or a voting form in store now. Alternatively, log on to the competition website www.bakeroftheyear.scot to vote,” added Ian McGhee.
Voting opens on 8 February and runs until 5 April. Judging day will take place on 15 March at Carnegie Conference Centre, Halbeath Road, Dunfermline. International Bakery magazine has been invited to judge, and we look forward to seeing some of you there!
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