Our Judges

Here is our 2022 Britain's Best Loaf judging panel.

Alexandra Vaughan
The Crow’s Rest Bakehouse (BBL 2021 Category Winner)

Alexandra Vaughan is a self-taught baker who has been running her micro bakery since 2016. She has taught dozens of people how to make their own bread in a domestic setting and also how to set up their own micro bakery.

Initially based in London, she moved to Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in 2018 and re-opened the micro bakery later that year, successfully crowd-funding to upgrade her oven.

Her breads, developed inhouse, have won an impressive award tally including Great Taste Awards, Tiptree World Bread Awards and Britain’s Best Gluten-free Loaf 2021.

Amy North
British Baker

Amy is responsible for leading and developing all aspects of British Baker’s editorial coverage, from breaking online news to in-depth features and analyses. She has a decade of experience as a journalist, three years of which have been spent at British Baker. Casually known as the Duchess of Doughnuts, she also has a deep love of sourdough making the judging day for Britain’s Best Loaf one of her favourite days of the year.

Andrew Layte
Technical Sales Manager

“I have Been working in the food industry for the last 29 years of which I have been baking for the last 23 years, with experience from in-store bakeries to industrial plant bakeries - Achieving bakery and technical qualifications along the way.

I have developed a wide range of products for all the major retailers and the food service sector, fresh and frozen bakery products, of which some of these have won awards like the Grocery awards and Good food and wine awards. I have a great understanding of a wide variety of processes within the baking industry, especially on industrial plant bakeries as I have worked for a major supplier in the baking industry leading process and NPD roles.

Beginning of 2022 I have now joined Lesaffre as a Technical Sales manager, which offers me further opportunities to widen my knowledge even more. I feel honoured to be invited to judge this wonderful competition”

Anna Perz
Research & Development Manager
ADM Milling

Anna’s enthusiasm and extensive experience in development and gristing drives her passion for quality and taking new ideas to the end result. She believes that behind every success is a good team and good quality detail orientated work. In her current role at ADM Milling she is leading product development & application and is involved in all technical aspects of wheat and flour quality.

Claire Powell
Technical Baker

Claire Powell, Technical Baker for BAKO Group Ltd, is responsible for developing new and innovative products for the BAKO Select range as well as product quality testing at the company’s development bakery in Preston. She provides support and training, visiting various customers across the UK, delivering onsite product demonstrations and additional training sessions to support to the company’s regional sales and telesales teams. She has in total over 30 years’ experience in the baking industry, including 20 years as Applications Baker for Scottish food service company Macphie.

Clare Barton
Owner/Head Baker
Bakehouse 124

Clare Barton is the owner and head baker of the Bakehouse at 124.

After studying an Advanced Diploma in Baking at the School of Artisan Food, Clare set up the Bakehouse in her hometown of Tonbridge, Kent in 2015.

Since opening, the business has grown from strength to strength winning an impressive award tally including Great Taste Awards, Tiptree World Bread Awards and most recently best Food and Drink Retailer by Kent Life Magazine.

Clare is one of only 21 Real Bread Campaign Ambassadors in the world and during “normal times” loves holding baking classes in her open plan bakery.

James Maye
Project Manager/Baker
Delice de France

James has been part of the Delice de France team now for 17 years, with an involvement in sourcing and developing bakery products for the business.

Working closely with our bakery partners, James has developed a range of products that have gone on to win Great Taste awards and various other awards.

James has spent time in the Aveyron region in the South of France working with our specialist bread partners developing a bespoke sourdough for Delice. Which has resulted in a range of core sourdough breads and baguettes being sold in the current Delice de France range.

Lee Smith
Poppyseed Bakery

I started my bakery apprenticeship in 1984 at Saffron Patisserie in Eastbourne. I went on to work in many bakeries which included Head Baker at The Dorchester Hotel, Sally Clarkes Bakery and Victoria Park Plaza Hotel all in London.

In 2003 we opened our bakery in Bexhill on Sea, Bexhill Farm Kitchen. In 2018 we rebranded to Poppyseed Bakery and now have three shops a bakery unit from where we supply our shops as well as wholesale customers.

I have won Britain's Best Loaf four times and have been lucky enough to have been on the judging panel twice before.

Martin Hunt
Joe’s Bakery (BBL 2021 Champion)

My food career started at Jane’s (my wife) family’s ice cream business where I learnt valuable business, production and food development skills. Jane and I later bought a small, very traditional (twin-arm mixer and steam-tube oven) back-street bakery and having outgrown the site bought into Joe’s Bakery in 1990. Joes operated a large High St. bakery and used modern methods (small bread plant, bread improvers etc). We continued with both types of bread and actively developed the bread and confectionery ranges in order to satisfy both traditional and wider tastes.

Fourteen years in Ice Cream and thirty-five in bakery has been a bumpy ride, but I have enjoyed it all and learnt a great deal. I have supported my practical experience by undertaking a Business and Finance HNC, and later Degree, at Bristol Polytechnic/UWE as well as attending very many short courses and study tours in the UK and beyond.

Mike Holling
Retail Sales Director
Birds Bakery

Sales Director with Birds Bakery for 30 years, Mike is responsible for all aspects of the retail estate which encompasses 62 shops geographically covering the East Midlands. Bird’s bakery has a total workforce of 700 team members and all sales generated through their retail estate.

Mike became a board director of the National Association of Master Bakers in 2004 and held the position as Chairman for a five year period. In 2013, Holling took over the role as the Executive Director of the Craft Bakers Association (Formally the NAMB)

With over 45 years’ experience in the Craft Baking industry, Holling has worked on numerous key campaigns for the industry including the Pasty Tax and Craft Bakers Week. He is committed to actively promoting the craft baker at every opportunity.

Neil Woods
Baking Industry Expert

Being a long standing member of The B.C.A. The B.S.B. and now President of the C.B.A. I am still active within the industry, having judged at many events over the years including The British Bakers, Britain's Best Loaf.

2021 was a fantastic year for me to remember as I was awarded the British Baker Outstanding Contribution to the Bakery Industry Award, this for me was the pinnacle achievement of my bakery career, I was so honoured but also humbled.

Being a great believer in craft skills I would like to think that I could influence the younger generation of bakers to take our wonderful industry forward, especially now with all that has happened in the last two years, as always the baker has found solutions as it has done in past times and are to be applauded for their resourcefulness, let us hope that now, as some normality resumes they will be rewarded by increased business.

Steve Wells
Managing Director
Brook Food

Starting as a trained and practicing chef opening his own bakery and then creating Brook Food & Bakery Equipment, Steve has built a vast knowledge which spans over 30 years within the baking industry, with an emphasis on all sectors. Steve’s experience in craft and production settings and his processing knowledge, along with his developed experience allows him to help customers from all types and sizes of bakeries.

William Leet
Bakery Development Technician
David Wood Baking (BBL 2021 Rising Star)

I started my baking Journey at Leicester College before going on to further my studies at UCB during which I won the Presidents Cup at the ABST twice in a row and travelled to Holland to carry out a summer Internship with Tromp Bakery Equipment amongst other internships.

On completion of Uni I went to Norway to complete a internship at the famous Nordic Bakeriet I Lom where I ended up living and staying for 2 years working as an Artisan Baker and Supervisor specialising in craft breads, sourdoughs and pastry’s. I then moved back to the UK and was handed the opportunity of my dream job as a Development Baker for David Wood Baking Ltd where is specialise in Italian Breads and Sourdoughs amongst all other delicious baked good. Since my time here at David Wood I have guest lectured a few times back at UCB, been a guest speaker for the ABST and my biggest achievement of winning The Rising Star Award at 2021 BIA.

2022 will also be a promising year where I will be speaking at the British Society of Baking Spring Conference, judging competitions at the ABST and guest lecturing once again at UCB.