Baker rises to the occasion to be named Suffolk Champion

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The Cake Shop has baked its way to victory in the semi-finals of the East of England Co-op’s Producer of the Year competition.

The multi-award-winning Woodbridge business stormed into the lead during a Valentine’s Day-themed event where it competed against rival Choose Spice to win public votes.

The bakery was crowned Suffolk County Winner after securing an impressive 4,114 votes.

David Wright, Director at The Cake Shop, said: “We take immense pride in our work and we are extremely touched by the support we have received from the general public.

“To have attracted such a huge number of votes in such a small space of time makes us very proud and we are so thrilled to be the producer to represent Suffolk in the next stage of the competition.

“We really hope that we can go on and win it for our county, our town and for all those people who made the effort to vote.”

Mr Wright has already helped amass a collection of accolades for his family business – and last year was recognised independently as Britain’s Baker of the Year.

He took over the Cake Shop Bakery from his father, Peter, in 2013. Less than a year later, the shop won Britain’s Best Bakery on ITV – and was then named best family business and best independent retailer at the Suffolk Food and Drink Awards in 2015.

He said: “Here in Woodbridge the business community is tight-knit so we have a huge amount of respect for Choose Spice and enjoyed collaborating with them to make a spiced sourdough as part of the Co-op competition event.”

The team at Choose Spice joined the Cake Shop bakery at their local Co-op store in Woodbridge on February 14th to invite locals were to sample treats from both producers and pick their favourite.

The event was one of three held to find county winners for Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk.

Jam producer Thursday Cottage beat sandwich-maker Raynor’s to be named Essex County Champion at an afternoon tea for over 70s and under sevens.

Meanwhile, The Norfolk Brewhouse narrowly secured more votes than Woodforde’s Brewery at a mini beer festival at Norwich UEA to find the Norfolk County Champion.

All three of the county winners will now meet a panel of food and farming experts before the overall Producer of the Year 2018 is crowned at the annual East of England Co-op Supplier Supper on 14 March.

Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive at the East of England Co-op, said: “The competition has been as fun as it has been fierce, with a tea party, a beer festival and a Valentine’s Day taste test resulting in an incredible 19,000 public votes.

“We have seen primary school children sharing scones with care home residents, watched two brewers go head-to-head at the University of East Anglia and seen a real love for food expressed by two producers who are friends as well as rivals. 

“Judges will now be taking a look at the three county champions to decide on an overall winner.”

The East of England Co-op works with approximately 100 local producers through its multi-award winning Sourced Locally initiative, which has generated millions of pounds for the regional economy since launching in 2007. 

Producer of the Year plays a vital role in continuing the Sourced Locally ethos by encouraging shoppers to consciously buy local and quality produce throughout the year.