Winner: 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!”
Bakers are being urged to enter the World Scotch Pie Championships before its closing deadline on 7 November.Organised by Buckhaven baker and butcher Alan Stuart, the competition, now in its 13th year, aims to find the country’s best Scotch pies, bridies, sausage rolls and savoury products. Judging will take place on 15 November at Carnegie College in Dunfermline, with an awards ceremony and special lunch taking place at the same venue on 5 January 2012.Stuart said: “Previous winners have seen turnover increase by over 30% and reigning champion Maurice Irvine has enjoyed tremendous business since he was crowned in January. His pies have been featured during a major launch of a leading football tournament at Hampden Park and he has also opened up new markets, including providing pies for one of Scotland’s most famous pubs.”Entries must be received by 5pm on 7 November and entry forms are available from Scottish Bakers on 0131 229 1401. For full details, visit www.scotchpieclub.co.uk.