This blog is shortly going to return to being positive – I’m just removing some crap from my brain and then we’re going back into creative mode.
I know my stock-in-trade is cynicism, sarcasm, facetiousness – but right now I’m feeling angry. I keep having a little pop at the Campaign for the Real Bread Campaign and I’ve nearly finished a full scale critique which I’ll try to get out of my system before normal service is resumed.
But, what is the Real Bread Campaign for? They (who are they?) have these Real Bread Ambassadors – supposed celebs who don’t need any more promotion – if you can arrive in the bread world they’ve arrived.
Take the latest of these from the Thoughtful Bakery – a self-declared eco-artisan bakery. This claim, as I have said before, seems to be based on the fact that they use nettles, blackberries and 2nd hand equipment.
Take someone like Rick Coldman, http://www.mairsbakehouse.co.uk He lives on a smallholding in South Wales. He generates his own electricity by wind turbine. He built an Alan Scott wood-fired masonry oven in which he bakes organic bread with renewable fuel. He rebuilt his second-hand Artofex mixer and adapted it to run on single-phase electricity. So far as I know he doesn’t claim to be eco-anything and doesn’t have time to go blackberrying, write books let alone get publishing contracts.
I thought I was cynical, but The Real Bread Campagne recently reinvented itself as a charity to work with people in danger of social exclusion – why? because their funding was running out and presumably social exclusion was a precondition to get new funding.
They claim to exist to promote and support “real bread” production. Rick’s power supply has, as the American government may say, just “degraded” to the extent of £4,000. So, what is the Real Bread Campaign going to do to help before he becomes socially excluded? On top of being a full-time baker he has already hosted one Bethesdabakin’ weekend for baking enthusiasts on a shared-cost basis and, despite his current travails, is organising the next one in June. If the Bread Angels are there for anything, they should be bailing Rick out.
Why hasn’t Rick been invited to become a Bread Ambassador as a mark of his achievements and because of the example he sets for aspiring bakers? Any of our current ambassadores run cost-based weekend?
I recently commented on the fact that another of these Grandees charges £2,500 + vat for a day’s consultancy. I just ran a series of four, two-day courses to retrain someone who had been made redundant as a small scale baker for less than half of that without the vat. I’m not looking for praise but I’m like to know where the Real Bread Campagne’s values are at.