Bradford garden centre baker shortlisted in national bakery competition

The head baker at Tong Garden Centre has been recognised for his bakery skills after being shortlisted for Baker of the Year in the 2018 Baking Industry awards.

Judges from the prestigious national awards scheme visited Lee Parnham at the Tong Garden Centre bakery in June and sampled many products including Tong’s renowned vanilla slice, quiches and Eccles cakes.

Lee’s bakery skills were honed in both independent and multi-site bakeries before he joined Tong Garden Centre to head up the newly formed bakery team. He now manages a team of five who have delivered double digit sales growth every year since the bakery was commissioned in 2015.

Tong’s Commercial Director, Sharon McNair, is proud of Lee’s achievements: “Lee has done a great job of building the team, developing an exciting product range in response to customer feedback and tailoring products to delight our customers.

“Lee and his team have grown the bakery from a standing start in just 3 years and now supply both the Food Hall and the restaurant with tray bakes and selected patisserie ranges.”

A delighted Lee, who was shortlisted for judging, but didn’t reach the final three, said: “We have achieved so much and I’m really proud to have been shortlisted in the Baker of the Year category but I couldn’t have done it without the fantastic support and commitment of my team here in the Food Hall.”

Judges said that competition was tough and being shortlisted for judging was a great achievement. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London in September.

Lee and his team will be showcasing their skills at the forthcoming Taste of Tong event on 15th and 16th September.

Tong Garden Centre is one of Yorkshire’s biggest garden centres with 110,000 square feet of retail space and parking for up to 1000 cars.