26 December 1997

HEUSES HIS LOAF TO PUSH FRESH BREAD…

NOW just look at these people – why is there so much interest in my fresh bread? asks Ian Paterson, as visitors to the BBC Good Food Show, Birmingham, clamour for a free morsel of his loaves.

He knows the answer of course – his bread is British baking at its best even if his business is called The French Stick Co.

Mr Paterson, from Dorridge, near Solihull, West Midlands, is passionate about freshly baked bread – and that means what it says in his book – not part-baked, frozen and reheated. He started KNEAD, the campaign for natural fresh bread, two years ago, in response to supermarkets claiming they produced freshly baked bread, when in fact they were just reheating frozen products from a central source, in-store.

"My father was a baker and I trained for five years to be one, and I cant see the day when I would get up at 8am and reheat ready-made frozen bread. If reheating bread in a oven makes a baker, then every home in the country with an oven could call itself a bakery," says Mr Paterson, keen to protect the standard of real baking in an industry that has seen the number of craft bakers drop from 30,000 to 1400 in the past 30 years.

&#42 Frozen not fresh

"If something is pre-baked and frozen it cant be fresh.

Frozen peas arent called fresh peas and we object to bake-off units claiming to produce fresh-baked bread. Fresh bread needs a baker to make it, not an electrician," he says.

As a result of the KNEAD campaign, the Local Authority Co-ordinating Body on Food and Trading Standards is due to rule soon on what it takes to claim a product is freshly baked.

British-grown garlic from Mersley Farms, Newchurch, Isle of Wight, made a stunning display on a stand in the NFU Food from the Countryside area. Louise Lumley was promoting the Kingcob smoked garlic which, she told customers, has a milder taste than fresh garlic and is enjoyable eaten raw in salads, among other ways.

Peter Gott is a face familiar to many visitors to food and agricultural events. His Cheese Roadshow has travelled Britain and abroad, but he has cut back on his show-going of late to concentrates on producing his own ewes milk cheese and rearing Gloucester Old Spot pigs and wild boar at Sillfield Farm, Endmoor, Cumbria.

"The wild boar are just great, and so are the sausages and pies made from them," enthuses Peter. Certainly the wonderful pies made by master baker Jed Ward, who works from a unit on the farm, were selling almost faster than he could wrap them at the show.

&#42 Waxed cheese

Peter was also enjoying brisk sales of his Westmorland Original lightly ripened waxed cheese. "After 20 years of retailing other peoples cheeses, I now make my own and am in charge of its distribution. I can sell it when it is just at the right flavour and explain to customers the seasonal variations in it," he says.

Hopefully his enthusiasm for making cheese wont stop him from taking his roadshow to events entirely, for he would be sadly missed.

Tessa Gates

Top:Louise Lumley was extolling the virtues of garlic grown and smoked in the Isle of Wight at the BBC Good Food Show.

Above: A taste was mostly followed by a purchase of bread made by baker Ian Paterson (in yellow) who gets a touch crusty at the mention of bake-off units.

Left: Jed Wards pies and Peter Gotts Westmorland Original cheese are both made on Peters farm in Cumbria.