Essex bakers among the best in Britain

BREAD and cake makers in Essex are among the best in the country, it was revealed at this year's National Bakery Competition.Kathleens Kitchen in Colchester won not only this year's Bread Challenge Shield, but also awards for both wholemeal and fruit bread.

BREAD and cake makers in Essex are among the best in the country, it was revealed at this year's National Bakery Competition.

Kathleens Kitchen in Colchester won not only this year's Bread Challenge Shield, but also awards for both wholemeal and fruit bread.

Owner of the successful bakers' shop on Long Wyre Street, Roger Hance, said that winning the shield was the "icing on the cake" after a successful year of business.

Mr Hance competed with over 1,000 other British companies for the accolade while his manager Adrian Sharpe competed against hundreds for his baking awards.


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"I'm pleased that we did so well, I've only been manager here for two years so its really good news," said Mr Sharpe.

The stores' cake maker Debbie Murphy was first runner up in the Victoria Sponge competition.

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She said: "I was really surprised when I found out that I was a runner up, I have never entered anything like this before so it's great."

Despite cut-price competition, the small, specialist bakers' shop has not witnessed any loss of business from major supermarkets with in-store bakeries.

Mrs Murphy said: "People come here from all over the place, business has never been better. We supply lots of the café's in town with bread for their sandwiches so we've had people coming in here saying that it was so good they just had to ask the café's where it was from."

Mr Hance's grandfather originally opened the family business in Chelmsford, it then moved premises to Maldon and has been in Colchester for 22 years.

Mr Hance's day usually starts at about 12.30am when he and Mr Sharpe will start preparing the fresh breads and confectionary for the day. He will usually work at the shop until 8pm.

Meanwhile the founder of a bakery in Halstead has won an industry recognised lifetime achievement award from the National Association of Master Bakers.

E A Hume and Son Bakery and Confectionery opened 43 years ago and now employs 17 people, some of who work through the night to ensure all the products are freshly made for the next day.

Owner of the prize-winning firm, Dennis Hume said: "The award makes me feel very proud and it is very nice to receive recognition for what we have done. We put a lot of work in and feel justifiably proud."

His wife Ann Hume said: "People come from everywhere - from Braintree, Sudbury and even as far as Lowestoft. They know that if they are in Halstead then we sell all the fresh produce they require."

The family business makes products ranging from bread, buns, and sausage rolls to wedding cakes.

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