A BAKERY in Dunbar that was set up by members of the community has lured an award-winning patissier to run its kitchen.
Ross Baxter, 28, was named Scottish Patissier of the Year in 2011 while he was head pastry chef at Greywalls Hotel in nearby Gullane.
He joined Dunbar Community Bakery in April and is now running the small firm as head baker and manager.
His previous experience includes working under Michelin-starred chefs Albert Roux and Michael Caines.
The bakery’s flagship product is the Belhaven loaf, a wholemeal bread made with beer from the local brewery.
Since Baxter arrived, the bakery has also started selling products such as raspberry and lemon cream tarts, dark chocolate and hazelnut eclairs and roasted vanilla pineapple and coconut cake.
He said: “This is an exciting chance for me to run a business that serves the local community by producing top-quality bread, cakes and savouries at affordable prices. Three assistant bakers who are already working in the bakery will shortly start on apprenticeships. We are committed to investing in the professional development of all our staff.”
The bakery opened on Dunbar High Street in October to fill a gap left by the closure of the town’s previous bakers’ shop three years earlier.
Following on from its early successes, the business has been entered into an ITV competition to find “Britain’s best bakery” and a television crew recently visited Dunbar to film the company.
The community co-operative currently has 515 shareholders. Since the bakery was founded, they have raised more than £45,000 to finance the business, which employs 15 full and part-time staff.
At its annual general meeting last month, bakery chairwoman Jane Wood – better known as chief executive of Scottish Business in the Community – revealed that the business intended to boost revenues by developing a wholesale business with hotels, restaurants and shops.
Wood added: “The arrival of Ross has enabled us to take a huge leap forward in terms of the quality and the variety of what we produce.
“Our bread and cakes are handmade with the finest ingredients. That is why they cost more to make than the sort of bakery goods that you find on supermarket shelves.
“But this quality and our customer service is how we differentiate ourselves in the marketplace. As a social enterprise, it is critical that our business model is sustainable so we can deliver the community benefit that we pledged at the start of this journey.”
In another show of community co-operation, residents of Bigton, on Shetland, yesterday reopened the village’s only shop and post office after banding together to run it as a community-owned outfit.
The enterprise was registered as a community-owned co-operative and launched a successful share issue with the support of the Co-operative Enterprise Hub.
Volunteers from the community have been recruited to staff the store.
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