The much anticipated search for Scotland’s best baker is again on

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Scottish Bakers Scottish Baker of the Year

The highly regarded Scottish Baker of the Year competition kicked off on 3 February with five City of Glasgow final year bakery students going head-to-head to create Scotland on a Cake to illustrate the creativity of the industry.

“The past two years have been incredibly hard on us all but Scotland’s bakers have shown great resilience and creativity through the toughest of times, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love a sweet treat, perfect pie or super sausage roll. So, let’s show them how much we appreciate their hard work and skill,”​ said Mich Turner, MBE, Scottish Baker ambassador and founder of Little Venice Cake Company.

Today, I am asking everyone who shops in their local bakery to do one simple thing – vote for your favourite baker in the Scottish Baker of the Year Awards 2022/23.

“And if you haven’t shopped in your local baker 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 baker and counts towards the Customer Choice awards.”

Scotland on a cake

The five students putting their skills into action included Brian Behan, Rebecca Balmforth and Kellyanne McClymont, with Turner and verteran baker and judge Robert Ross awarding Maryam Mehdizadehkasri with her Highland Cow creation and Diane Cleland with her Saltire bake the top spots.

The winners have both won a work experience day at multiple award winner Mimi’s Bakehouse. All entrants have also received a day at lead sponsor Bako’s development bakery in Preston, along with a copy of Turner’s ‘Everyday Bakes to Showstopper Cakes’.

Paul Little, principal and CEO of City of Glasgow College, said, “Our College has a well-deserved reputation for excellence in culinary arts and bakery, and I am delighted that our NQ level 6 bakery students showcased their skills for the launch of Scottish Baker of the Year.

“Our own City Market, run by our bakery students and staff, have previously won a number of product prizes at regional and national level so we are very aware of the impact and value which this prestigious competition generates.”     

We need your vote

This year, customers are being given the opportunity to get involved, by voting for their favourite baker. The judges will then identify a Customer Choice winner in each of the four business categories: Craft Baker, Retail Craft Baker, Wholesale Baker and Bakery Café.

“We are delighted to give the public a say with our Customer Choice awards,”​ said Scottish Bakers president Linda Hill.

“It’s a great opportunity for members to reach out to their customers and communities and get people buzzing about great, traditional Scottish baking. It’s really easy to vote too, ask your baker for their unique QR code to scan, or a voting form in store now or log on to the competition website.”

Voting is now open and runs until 6 April. QR codes and voting forms are available instore at all participating bakeries or it can be done online​ – voting automatically enters the shopper  into a draw to win a Google Nest Max Hub.

Does your product standout above the rest?

This year’s competition has a further twist – with the invitation to Scottish bakers to submit their exquisite creations across a number of categories.

“We’re inviting bakers to enter up to 10 products of their choosing for rigorous tasting,”​ said Alasdair Smith, CEO of Scottish Bakers, noting this is open to all bakers and not just the association’s members.

“Non-members will have to pay a small fee or join the association to be in with a chance of taking a prize,”​ he added.

Bakers have until 4 March to register their submissions under the categories of Biscuit; Bread (with subcategories of traditional and sourdough); Celebration Cake; Individual Cake; Morning Roll (including special awards for Buttery, French/Danish pastries); Savoury; Scone (including a special award for potato scone) and Free From.

The product judging will be held on 16 March in Dunfermline.

Scottish Bakers members can enter for free, while non-members will need to pay £195 + VAT to participate in the product judging and customer choice vote. If a non-member wishes to submit an entry only to the Celebration Cake category, a fee of £35+VAT will apply.

Business judging

Each Scottish Bakers member who achieves a bronze award or above will be eligible to take part in the business judging part of the competition.

The four business categories are: Craft Baker of the Year (three shops or less); Retail Craft Baker of the Year (four shops or more); Wholesale Baker of the Year (no shops) and Bakery Café of the Year for cafés who produce the bulk of their own baked goods either on-site or at a dedicated bakery unit.

The ultimate Scottish Baker of the Year Award will be awarded to one of the four category winners.

Non-members will not be eligible to enter the business judging part of the Scottish Baker of the Year competition.

Regional Awards and Customer Choice Awards will be presented on Friday 6 May 2022 and the National Awards (which includes special awards), business category winners and the overall Scottish Baker of the Year 2022/3 will be announced at a glittering gala dinner to be held in Glasgow on 7 May 2022.

Video music created by Jim Cornall.

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