Banburyshire restaurateur turned baker wins awards in her first year
And within six months, Tanya Young's gluten free loaves have been voted among the best entries in a world breads awards event.
"I entered the Tiptree World Bread Awards because, after starting up the business, I wanted expert opinion and some feedback from some of the world's best judges and I was stunned to find out I had won a silver and a bronze award," said Mrs Young.
"After I was selected as a finalist, my husband John and I attended the awards ceremony and I was absolutely thrilled to receive silver for my quinoa and millet sandwich loaf and bronze for my rosemary and garlic focaccia. I was over the moon to have my gluten free loaves recognised by the baking profession so early on in this project."
Mrs Young closed her pop-up restaurant Knife and Fork earlier this year to concentrate on the development of her range of gluten-free breads. Knife and Fork Bakery is run at her home, Castle Farmhouse in Deddington.
"It all started out with a friend of mine, Sue Brown, who runs Forge House Bakery in Lower Heyford, where she bakes the most amazing Sourdough bread. We sourced our equipment together, went off and stayed in a bed and breakfast in Somerset and attended a workshop on running a micro bakery at Brook Food, who are national suppliers of bakery equipment in the UK," she said.
"Sue and I both won awards at the Tiptree event - she won two silvers and a bronze for her sourdough breads. The event is a serious Industry National competition and we weren't entering to win - we really wanted that feedback.
"We baked our breads very early one morning, tootled off to London on the train together, delivered our bread, went for a coffee and came home - only to discover we had both won awards.
"We also have stalls next to each other on the Deddington Farmers Market each month too."
Judges in the competition this year included food critics, famous bakers and a Great British Bake-Off winner.
Mrs Young is now making her loaves available across mainland UK, dispatching the breads by overnight carrier. She also supplies Gidleigh Park hotel in Devon, Lake Country House in Powys and more locally Nicholsons' Yurt Cafe in North Aston.
"I may do the baking but getting this far has definitely been a joint project between me and John," said Mrs Young.
"Just like Knife and Fork pop-up restaurant, there’s an un-glamorous side and as always he is there to support me, making up boxes, delivering emergency bread orders to Wales on his bike, humping sacks of flour and sorting out the IT.
"I feel strongly that anyone who needs or chooses to eat gluten free bread should be able to eat a staple food that is not full of chemicals, additives, processed gums and thickeners.
"Coeliacs, and I am one, already have gut challenges so it doesn't make sense to me to eat these things. I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor and this is my choice. It does make sense to eat completely natural ingredients, ancient grains that are just milled and not messed about with. They are highly nutritious and importantly they have a lot of flavour.
Mrs Young's loaves can be ordered online at www.knifeandforkbakery.co.uk to be delivered overnight or collected from Castle Farmhouse on Tuesdays or Thursdays as well as Deddington Farmers' Market on the fourth Saturday of the month.