The (Kettle) Chips are down for Norwich’s Pye Baker

Norwich based Pye Baker won the coveted Kettle Foods business mentoring prize at the North Norfolk Food Festival last month.

This artisan bakery, which has a bakery shop and café on Dereham Road and a separate wholesale commercial bakery, is far removed from your average high street bakery. ‘Grimsby’, the Pye Baker (and owner) honed his skills in top London restaurants working alongside some of the biggest names in British cookery.

Having originally made the move from London to set up a boutique hotel restaurant, he fell in love with our county (doesn’t everyone?) and the wealth of local produce, setting up his own artisan bakery back in 2008. The business supplies local restaurants and shops as well as selling speciality bread at local farmers’ markets. Their original range of breads has been extended to include a wide selection of cakes, pastries and savouries – everything baked only using 100% organic flour and free-range eggs, with no additives or preservatives.

Apart from the fact that Grimsby tells us that this is the first time he has ever won anything in his life, the mentoring prize is dearly cherished because it comes at a crucial time when the business is expanding. “Being a pastry chef, I know how to shout at other chefs to get things done, but that doesn’t necessarily work with the number of staff we now employ in other areas. I’ve realised that drivers and packers don’t respond well to being shouted at!” At Norfolk Food & Drink we work hard to support businesses in our sector and we recognise that the challenges of scaling up a business are very real.

We’ll leave the last, very pertinent, word to Grimsby: “I think Kettle Foods liked the fact that in my mentoring submission I talked about staffing issues in light of the fact that I’m a sweaty, smelly chef who isn’t a Human Resources expert or even particularly a ‘people person’! I need rounded business advice and am really looking forward to this next year with Kettle’s support.”