Scottish consumers continue to sway decisions in the Scottish Baker of the Year Customer Choice category, but it was up to a panel of 50 industry expert to taste test each and every entry at the much-anticipated Scottish Baker of the Year Judging Day in Dunfermline last week.
Row after row of tables laden with this year’s crop of brilliant bakes filled the hall, making the judge’s task even more daunting to root out Scotland’s best scone (including a special award for potato scone), biscuits, breads (traditional and sourdough), celebration and individual cakes, morning rolls, butteries and savoury items, along with the newer categories of French and Danish-style Pastries and Free From treats.
I was one of 10 sweet-enthralled judges designated to use all four senses to appraise almost 130 decadent entries in the Individual Cake category.
Our task was to find the category winners, which then were put forward towards the ultimate prize, the Scottish Baker of the Year.
“Every day in Scotland, we can enjoy a buttery for breakfast, a sandwich made from a fresh loaf for lunch, afternoon tea with mouth-watering sweet treats and a fresh piping hot pie for dinner,” said Alasdair Smith, CEO of Scottish Bakers, which hosts the annual competition.
“But the bakers who carefully make the pies, scones, loaves, savouries, morning rolls, individual cakes and biscuits sold in Scotland every day are the hidden gem of our economy and of our culture. We are delighted to give Scottish bakers the chance to shine and showcase their skills.”
Scottish Baker of the Year 2023/24 shortlist
The national bakery association has revealed the nominees for the prestigious Scottish Baker of the Year Awards
- Annie’s Bakery, Caithness
- Asher’s Bakery, Nairn
- Babyfaced Baker, Edinburgh
- Bavarian Bakehouse, Cumbernauld
- Biggar Flavour, Biggar
- Byron Bakery, Aberdeen
- California Kitchen and Catering, Glasgow
- City Market Bakery (City of Glasgow College), Glasgow
- Cuckoo’s Bakery, Edinburgh
- Cukie Patisserie, Dunfermline
- Fisher & Donaldson, Cupar
- G H Barnett & Son, Anstruther
- Gannets Northeast, Laurencekirk
- Gilardi Bakers (Stobbs the Baker), Ayr
- Goodfellow & Steven, Dundee
- Grazey Days, Inverness
- Gretna Bakery, Gretna
- Harry Gow Bakery, Inverness
- Irvines Bakers and Confectioners, Beith
- J B Christie (Christie the Baker), Airdrie
- J G Ross (Bakers), Inverurie
- J M Bakery, Carnoustie
- John Gillespie & Sons, Stranraer
- Luscious Lovelies Cakes, Falkirk
- Mackenzie’s Bakery, Portree
- Maclean’s Highland Bakery, Forres
- McGhee’s Bakery, Glasgow
- Mimi’s Bakehouse, Edinburgh
- Murrays Bakers, Perth
- Nevis Bakery, Fort William
- Newlands Home Bakery, Glasgow
- Pastel, Dalkeith
- Peter’s Bakery, Glasgow
- Plant Blonde, Glasgow
- Reid’s of Caithness, Thurso
- Bayne's the Family Bakers, Lochore, Fife
- Stephens Bakery, Dunfermline
- T A Francis & Sons, Annan
- The Apple Pie Bakery, Lanark
- The Bread Guy, Aberdeen
- The Breadwinner Bakery, Edinburgh
- The Kandy Bar, Saltcoats
- The Naked Sourdough, Kelso
- The Three Little Bakers, Inverness
“With 630 products entered, reaching the shortlist of this competition really is something to be very proud of,” said Smith.
“We really do wish all of our shortlisted entrants the best of luck when the prizes are presented in May.”
Get your customers involved
The professional judging stint is now complete, but customer voting for the Scottish Baker of the Year Customer Choice awards is open until 5 April.
Shoppers are invited to vote for their favourite bakery and from these winners will be identified in four business categories: Craft Baker, Retail Craft Baker, Wholesale Baker and Bakery Café.
“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,” said Ian McGhee, Scottish Bakers’ president.
“It’s really easy to vote too, ask your bakery for their unique QR code to scan, or a voting form instore now. Alternatively, log on to the competition website to vote.”
QR codes and voting forms are available instore at all participating bakeries. Alternatively, shoppers can vote on the dedicated competition website.
The winner will be announced at Scottish Bakers’ annual conference and gala dinner in Glasgow on 6 May 2023.
The small print
Paper votes for the Customer Choice Awards must be received by 5 April 2023. Any received after this date may not be counted.
Bakers were able register up to 12 of their products. Each Scottish Bakers member who achieves a bronze award or above are eligible to take part in the business judging part of the competition. Non-members are not eligible to participate in this section.
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 (cafés that produce the bulk of their own baked goods either onsite or at a dedicated bakery unit).
The ultimate Scottish Baker of the Year Award will be awarded to one of the four category winners.
Regional Awards and Customer Choice Awards will be presented on 5 May, while the National Awards (including special awards), business category winners and the overall Scottish Baker of the Year 2023/4 will be announced on 6 May 2023.