The Britain's Best Loaf event will be taking place during the UK Food & Drink Shows at the NEC Birmingham on Tuesday 30 April 2024 and here are our industry experts who will be involved in this year's judging.

Amy North

Amy North, Editor, British Baker

Amy is responsible for leading and developing all aspects of British Baker’s editorial coverage, from breaking news to in-depth features and analyses covering businesses of all sizes including bakery’s major players and artisanal outlets. She has more than a decade of experience as a journalist, seven years of which have been spent at British Baker. She has a great appreciation of all bakery items from the nostalgia-inducing Blobby biscuits to deep-filled doughnuts (earning her the nickname the ‘Duchess of Doughnuts’).

Andrew Layte

Andrew Layte, Technical Sales Manager, Lesaffre UK and Ireland

Andrew has been working in the food industry for the last 29 years, specialising in baking for the past 23 years. He has gained experience in both in-store and industrial plant bakeries, earning bakery and technical qualifications along the way. Andrew has created a diverse range of products for major retailers and the food service sector, including fresh and frozen bakery items that have received awards such as the Grocery awards and Good Food and Wine awards. With a deep understanding of various processes in the baking industry, particularly in industrial plant bakeries, Andrew has held key roles in process and NPD at a major baking industry supplier. In early 2022, Andrew joined Lesaffre as a Technical Sales Manager, providing him with new opportunities to expand his knowledge.

Claire Powell

Claire Powell, Technical Baker, Bako

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

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.

Dan Riley

Dan Riley, Deputy Editor, British Baker

While still relatively new to the baking industry, Dan brings more than 15 years of professional writing experience to his latest role on the British Baker editorial team. In addition to his news articles and long-read features, he has also helped enhance the digital content of the publication with his graphic design and video editing skills, contributing to its rise in readership and engagement across various channels.

Gareth Edwards

Gareth Edwards, Head of Sales for Craft and Speciality, ADM

Gareth’s enthusiasm and extensive experience in the industry began at Cardiff Bakery College. Throughout his early career he worked in artisan bakeries and multiple retailers across the UK before joining ADM. Gareth has held several sales roles at ADM spanning a 27 year career to date. Today he is responsible for the Bakery Division, and collaborates with his Technical and Marketing colleagues to develop and take new ideas to market. He believes success comes from a good team prepared to go the extra mile with quality ingredients.

Lee Smith

Lee Smith, Baker, Poppyseed Bakery

Lee began his apprenticeship at Saffron Patisserie in Eastbourne in 1984 whilst he was pursuing Bakery & Confectionary studies at Brighton College. Following his time in local bakeries, he spent four years in London as the Head Baker at The Dorchester Hotel and Sally Clarkes Bakery. In 2003, Lee and his team acquired Bexhill Farm Kitchen in Bexhill-on-Sea, later rebranding it as Poppyseed Bakery upon opening their second shop in 2017. Throughout the years, they have achieved numerous accolades, including winning Britain's Best Loaf four times, World Bread Awards, Baking Industry Awards Speciality Bread of the Year, among others. With five shops and a substantial wholesale operation, Poppyseed Bakery now boasts a team of 71 employees.

Louise West

Louise West, Training Advisor, Scottish Bakers

Louise has been working in the baking industry for 37 years after starting as an apprentice in 1987 in the craft sector. Alongside her partner Trevor, they ran a craft bakery business from 1996 to 2019, Louise is currently a quality assurance manager in the baking industry and worked for the National Food & Drink Training since 2014 as a Training Advisor.

Lucas Fussneggar

Lucas Fussneggar, Director, Fussneggar Ltd

Lucas is a second-generation German Master Baker and the Founder of Fussnegger Ltd. Having been raised in his family's bakery, baking has been his lifelong passion. Upon moving to the UK in 2015, Lucas discovered his interest in the technical aspects of baking, leading him to pursue various exciting roles in the field. One of his career highlights includes creating the Collection Sourdough for M&S and being featured on their show 'Inside M&S at Christmas'. In 2023, Lucas realised his dream of establishing his own bakery consultancy business, collaborating with partners across different sectors of the Baking Industry to offer expertise and knowledge. Currently serving as the President of the ABST for the second year, Lucas considers it a privilege to give back, share knowledge, and mentor the next generation of Bakers.

Naomi Spaven

Naomi Spaven, Head Baker, Wylde Bakery

Naomi is the Head Baker at Wylde Bakery in Bebington, Wirral, where they specialise in crafting artisanal sourdough and baked goods. Through her baking blog @littlewelshfoodie, Naomi has garnered opportunities to collaborate with the Welsh Government, make television appearances, and host radio segments. She is dedicated to promoting Welsh business and advocating for the hospitality industry, Naomi was most recently a Rising Star Award finalist at the 2023 Baking Industry Awards.

Neil Woods

Neil Woods, Bakery Consultant

Neil has had over 57 years within the British bakery industry, beginning at 15 as a probationary apprentice. Following 33 successful years with IREKS UK Ltd, Neil retired in 2018. He has been a long-standing member of The B.C.A. The B.S.B. and C.B.A. In 2021, Neil was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to the Baking Industry Award and says this was the pinnacle achievement of his career in the industry.

Sara Autton

Sara Autton, Bakery Consultant

Sara’s career in baking began at a very early age and has been a lifelong passion for her. She studied at the National Bakery School (part of London Southbank University) on two separate occasions, gaining a variety of bakery-related City and Guilds qualifications, her National Diploma in Bakery and a Batchelor’s degree in Bakery Science and Product Management. Sara recently retired from Lesaffre UK & Ireland (formerly Fermex International) where she was Technical Manager for over 25 years. In 2023 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the London Southbank University; and the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to the Baking Industry Award from the British Baker. She continues to take an interest in the baking industry through her current role as a bakery consultant.

Simon Lawton-Hayes

Simon Lawton-Hayes, Technical Sales Manager, Brook Food & Bakery Equipment

Simon has almost 30 years’ experience within the baking industry, with key experience in the ingredients, product development and the in-store bakery sector. His technical approach allows for a great understanding in end user production requirements at various scales.

William Leet

William Leet, Bakery Development Technician, David Wood Baking

William started on his baking journey at Leicester College, continuing his studies at UCB. He achieved the prestigious Presidents Cup at the ABST twice consecutively and completed a summer internship at Tromp Bakery Equipment in Holland, alongside other internships. Following university, he ventured to Norway for an internship at the renowned Nordic Bakeriet I Lom, where he resided for two years as an Artisan Baker and Supervisor specializing in craft breads, sourdoughs, and pastries. Returning to the UK, William secured his dream role as a Development Baker at David Wood Baking Ltd, focusing on Italian Breads and Sourdoughs. His accomplishments include guest lecturing at UCB, speaking at the ABST, and winning The Rising Star Award at the 2021 Baking Industry Awards.