‘Fire up your ovens and let creativity knead its way into every bake’: Scottish Bakers launches the search for Scotland’s best baker

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Scottish Bakers' Lesley Cameron and Ian McGhee flank Cabinet Secretary Mairi Gougeon at the launch of the Scottish Baker of the Year 2024/25. Pic: Scottish Bakers
Scottish Bakers' Lesley Cameron and Ian McGhee flank Cabinet Secretary Mairi Gougeon at the launch of the Scottish Baker of the Year 2024/25. Pic: Scottish Bakers

Related tags Scottish Bakers Scottish Baker of the Year Mimi's Bakehouse Bako Innovation Competition

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands Mairi Gougeon kicked off the search for the Scottish Baker of the Year 2024/25 with a strong call to action: ‘I encourage bakers across the country to take part in this amazing opportunity, which is not only a platform for creativity but a catalyst for innovation and growth.’

While Channel 4's next lineup for Celebrity Bake Off includes a troupe of Scottish luminaries – including comedian Fern Brady, and actors Danny Dyer and Jodie Whittacker – Scottish Bakers’ annual competition will be resplendent with its own brand of heroes.

Afterall, the Scottish bakery sector plays a critical role in both the economic and cultural fabric of Scotland.

“Scotland’s Bakers are at the heart of our local communities turning natural ingredients into an incredible range of delicious products for everyone in Scotland to enjoy,” said Gougeon at the launch of the 10th​ edition of the competition in Edinburgh this week.

“Our bakery sector plays a pivotal role in our economy. Alongside the wider food and drink industry, we are continuing to support the sector as we work towards making Scotland a world leading nation in sustainable production and responsible growth.”

Hosted by Scottish Bakers and Mimi’s Bakehouse (current title holder), with support from Bako (awards partner), the 10th​ annual competition will not merely involve a tournament of skills.

It will be an outlet of passion, a platform for creativity and the meeting of time-honoured techniques with contemporary ideas. It’s also a way to ensure your product offerings are aligned to the wants and needs of the next generation of customers. Kudos, glory and multiple business benefits are up for grabs – so who can afford to ignore the opportunity?

Let your ovens fire up, let the whisks sing! Let creativity knead its way into every loaf, every biscuit, every bite and every entry – Scottish Bakers

Bakers are invited to submit entries under a number of categories: Biscuit, Bread: traditional & sourdough, Celebration Cake, Individual Cake, Morning Roll (including special awards for Buttery, French/Danish pastries), Savory, Scone (including special award for potato scone) and Free From.

Registration is now open until March 4. Product judging will take place in Dunfermline on March 20.

“We’re inviting bakeries to enter up to 12 products of their choosing for rigorous judging, including appearance, the quality of the bake and of course, taste,” said Lesley Cameron, Scottish Bakers CEO.

She added the competition is “open to all bakeries not just our members, though non-members will have to pay a small fee per product entry to take part or join the association to be in with a chance of taking a prize.”

Who #bakesyourbest?

Pic: Scottish Bakers

The competition is also the perfect opportunity for bakers to engage with consumers – with products that captivate the attention and tastebuds of both existing and future customers, and through the Consumer Choice Award.

“We are delighted to give consumer an opportunity to support future innovation through our Customer Choice awards,” said Scottish Bakers president Ian McGhee.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for our members to connect with their customers and communities and get people talking about great products the sector produces. It’s easy to vote, too. Ask your bakery for their unique QR code; alternatively, log onto the competition website.”

Voting is open to the public until April 3. QR codes are available instore at all participating bakeries or shoppers can vote at www.bakeroftheyear.scot.

These votes will then determine the winners of the Customer Choice Awards in the four business categories.

“As the current Scottish Baker of the Year champions, we wanted to share the love as the search starts for the next winner of this amazing competition,” said Michelle Phillips, founder of Edinburgh-based Mimi’s Bakehouse and soon-to-be president of Scottish Bakers. 

To mark the launch, Mimi’s Bakehouse and Scottish Bakers are joining forces on social media with a range of giveaways, video content and takeovers designed to engage bakers across Scotland as well as consumers.

“I am asking everyone who shops in their local bakery, not just here in Edinburgh but all across Scotland, to do one simple thing – vote for your favourite bakery in the Scottish Baker of the Year Awards 2024/25 and show Scotland who #bakesyourbest.

“Our aim is to collaborate as much as possible with our members so that this year’s competition reaches as many Scots as possible.”

How does your business match up?

Pic: Scottish Bakers

Open to Scottish Bakers member only, winners of a Bronze Award or above will be eligible for the business 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 (producing the bulk of their own baked goods onsite or at a dedicated bakery unit).

The crowning glory – nabbing the title of Scottish Baker of the Year 2024/25 – will be awarded to one of the four category winners. This will be announced at a glittering gala dinner to be held at the Glasgow Hilton on Saturday, May 10.

The fine print

Scottish shortbread Getty
Pic: GettyImages

Scottish Bakers members can enter for free, while non-members are required to pay £195 +VAT to participate in both the product judging and customer choice vote. If a non-member submits an entry into the Celebration Cake category only, a fee of £20 + VAT will apply.

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

At the close of the customer voting period (April 3), Scottish Bakers will provide successful bakers with instructions on how to submit products for judging.

Regional Awards and Customer Choice Awards will be announced on May 9; while the National Awards - including special awards, business category winners and the overall Scottish Baker of the Year 2024/5 - will be announced on May 10.

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