Here’s a photo I stole off Facebook. My mate Kev with a Pumpkin, Sunflower Seed and Chile loaf ready for the oven.
This is a photo of Matt and Geth taken yesterday at Matt’s shortly-to-be-opened pizza restaurant in Llangefni.
What they have in common is all three have done bread courses with me.
When Kev posted his photo on Facebook I was about to comment that he was one of my star pupils but I paused because that sounded like I taught him how to bake and put my indelible stamp on him. But that’s not true. A course is about showing someone how you bake and the student takes away certain elements (maybe not the ones you intended) and not only incorporates them into their methods but moulds them into something different, putting their own indelible stamp onto them. So Kev acknowledges that the bread formula is mine but he does it his way. (And when I say “mine”, ownership is a dodgy concept when it comes to bread formulas.)
It’s more extreme in the case of Geth and Matt where I’m being left behind in the dust.
Geth was already baking for a local chain of restaurants when he did a course with me a couple of years ago. Since then he’s worked for a pizza restaurant locally and, more recently, a bakery/cafe in Warwick and his plans for a place of his own are already well developed.
Matt already had a mobile pizza business when he did a course but wanted to learn sourdough (and, lucky boy, his wife bought him the course for his birthday). He phoned because, a few weeks away from opening, he needs a totally new routine for producing sourdough bases and I’m supposed to know about sourdough. Well, I do, but a commerical pizza operation is a totally different ball game to a couple baked at home.
Happily for Matt I had Geth up my sleeve and I was pleased to put them together because they are not in competition and could be useful to each other. You can see from the photo that my presence was not entirely necessary.
Having virtually invented the home-based microbakery and developed my own systems, spreadsheets and repertoire I once thought I could pass on a franchise to new bakers ready made. But fortunately bakers are awkward buggers with their own vision and plans and are not to be moulded. Nice to be able to watch it happen though …