baker of the year

first_imgWinner: Alan PearceManaging directorWC Rowe, Penryn, Cornwall”I live and breathe bakery, and my motivation is always to improve,” says Alan Pearce, and it was this enthusiasm and passion for the industry that so impressed the judges.Pearce served his hands-on four-year apprenticeship at Rowe’s, before becoming a director and eventual MD. Over the past nine years, the originally single-shop business has grown to two bakeries and 18 shops. Its wholesale customers include Tesco (for whose Finest range it makes scones) and Morrisons (to whom it supplies cream teas). Rowe’s pasties are also supplied to Sainsbury’s nationally.Pearce explains there is a craft element to all products the pasties, for example, are all hand-crimped. “We’ve got the skill level to do it, and everyone takes pride in what we turn out.” Personally monitoring the production floor, Pearce purports to sample a scone and a pasty every day!Finalist: Robert BurnsSenior partnerBurns the Bread, Glastonbury, Somerset”You’re always learning on this job from staff, other bakers, even your customers,” says Robert Burns. “That’s why I love it so much.”Burns has been involved in bakery since he was 10. Although he trained originally to be a mechanic, by 20 he was running a bakery with his parents-in-law. He bought his current business in 1982 as “a tired high street shop” and now owns three shops with a £1.2m turnover. Able to turn his hand to accounts, plumbing and internal communications, he still “adores” handling dough and making bread and pastry.”I’m happy anywhere in my business,” he says. “I’ll dive in and turn out some sausage rolls or decorate some cakes as necessary. Everything about this industry excites me it’s what gets me out of bed in the morning!”Finalist: Chris WainwrightProduction directorCoopland & Son (Scarborough), N YorksChris Wainwright’s bakery credentials are impeccable, having trained at both Thomas Danby and Hollings Colleges and achieved his National Diploma. He managed a three-shop bakery from the age of 19, going on to open his own restaurant and café in Harrogate.When he joined Cooplands as bakery manager, the firm had eight shops and was planning a new bespoke bakery. Now, Wainwright oversees production, training and new product development across both bakeries, which supply the company’s 75 shops, five cafés and several wholesale customers.”I’m passionate about this industry both in terms of developing products and people and in baking myself,” he says. “I still roll up my sleeves and turn out loaves alongside the best of them!”last_img read more

Livestock Judging

first_imgSeven college students, one van, 10,000 miles and too many rumps, quarters and hooves to count — this is what one year on a collegiate livestock team looks like.“If you had told me that I would be judging livestock a year ago, I would have laughed at you, but now I cannot imagine my life without it,” said Autumn Lankford, a UGA junior studying agricultural communication in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.The practice of competitive judging, where students rank a group of animals based on their body condition and traits and develop sound reasoning for their rankings, has a long history at the UGA. A wall in UGA’s animal and dairy science (ADS) building is filled with plaques, ribbons and trophies, but no new awards have been added, as the tradition had been on hiatus for the last few years.This academic year marked a new start for the UGA Livestock Judging Team.Livestock judging contests involve evaluating classes of livestock, ranking each individual in the group against the others and giving justification for those rankings. Students practice for hours each week to perfect their ability to align livestock classes correctly and prepare to discuss their attributes in a professional and creative manner.The recent competitive judging season was exactly what the UGA students needed to transform a group of greenhorn livestock evaluators into a collegiate livestock judging team.“It is exciting to be in a department where a high value is placed on evaluation teams,” said Dylan Davis, ADS graduate student and UGA Livestock Judging Team assistant coach. “Support, understanding and cooperation is needed throughout the department, and we are not short on any of those here in animal and dairy science.”Being on a livestock evaluation team also introduces students to the inner workings of the livestock industry. Along the way, students pick up skills and connections that will benefit them in their future careers, said Francis Fluharty, head of the UGA Department of Animal and Dairy Science and a livestock judging veteran.Having been a part of a livestock evaluation team himself in college, Fluharty can attest to the success that is bred out of similar programs.“For me, the judging part wasn’t important,” Fluharty said. “It was learning to make decisions quickly, verbalize my thoughts and justify my thoughts correctly.”This year, UGA’s team evaluated hundreds of animals on trips to competitions in Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi and Texas, visiting local farms to practice evaluating and ranking the livestock there.This diligent practice motivated Lankford to sharpen her evaluation techniques and build her work ethic and time management skills.“The true worth of this experience has shown to be in pushing myself to grow more in my ability to manage time, have confidence and put in the extra hours to be able to perform at the best of my abilities in any activity I take on,” Lankford said.After a successful season, the team will take a break this summer before competing in six contests this fall, when they will travel to competitions across the east and Midwest, said Sarah Loughridge, coach of the UGA Livestock Judging Team.“The fall contests are the most competitive competitions our team will see all year, so the bar is going to be set even higher when they return,” Loughridge said. “I have no doubt that these seven judges from all corners of Georgia will rise to the challenge. They will put everything on the line in November when we wrap up at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky.”          For more information about the livestock judging team and how to get involved, contact Loughridge at [email protected]last_img read more