About the author of
“How to Start a Bakery”.

Our author John Taberner has been in the bakery profession for 53 years!

johnDuring that time John has been involved with training apprentices as well as counter staff and responsible for six bakeries in the south of England as an area relief manager.

John has actually worked up through the ranks of the trade. Starting as a pan cleaner and on up through the ranks of table-hand, dough-maker, foreman, assistant manager to bakery manager and bakery owner.

So how and why did John get involved in such a long career in the food trades and why would he go so far as to help you get into starting a bakery business?

Getting into the bakery was really an accident waiting to happen, and a result of my father and school counselor. You see i wanted to go to sea as a cook. I wanted to see some of the world. I guess i am no different than other teenagers who did not have such a good relationship with their parents and who was a poor learner at school, likely because of the second world war.

Anyway, i was not allowed to go to sea and sent me to work for an engineering firm of George Kents. They had a small bakery and a big kitchen supplying their canteen. They put me to work cleaning tins in the bakery section and allowed me to participate in making some of the bread products and teaching me the oven work and how to use a peel.

That’s a long pole with something that looks like a shovel on one end, (much like a pizza shovel only with a six foot broom handle attached). It is used to load and unload the oven, because the oven was to deep to reach in for the pans at the back  of the oven.

The law at that time would not allow me to start work before 7 am, but did not prevent me from working 48 hours a week for a small sum of one pound seventeen shillings and six pence and that for someone just 16 years old was a fortune in those days.

But, the job did not last more than about six months. At least not in that location and i went to work for one of the canteen managers when he purchased a bakery with a shop and enough space to form a business called Houghton Caterers.

Houghton Caterers, had quite a prestigious name and we catered to places like the Royal Show as well as wedding, birthdays and golf parties. We did all this from the back of a large truck fully fitted with hotel style cookers, ovens and all the white linen and silverware required for top hat & tail events. As well as all the alcohol you could name.

A school friend  of mine joined the British Armed Forces and I guess not wanting to be left out, I did the same. I signed up for a stint of six years which was followed by eighteen years on the reserves and while serving in the Army Catering Corps. I attained the rank of Corporal and a B2 hospital dietitian.

Joining the armed forces though cost me a partnership in Houghton Caterers. My boss Ron had offered such a deal when he knew I was going to enlist.

My postings were exotic places like Bahrain, Nairobi Kenya, Kuwait. Plus I got to visit the Seychelles Islands, Bombay, Aden, the Suez Canal, Mombasa and Tanzania. Wonderful places I should very much like to revisit again one day!

I then continued my training as a baker, at The Southampton College of Technology under the tutors of Mr Morse, Mr James and a gentleman who had the strongest influence of sleep during that whole time and who’s name I have unfortunately forgotten.

It was at the college that I met Ron Wilkins, another student and from that time on, he and I were it seems, constantly vying for the same position. Both in competitions and employment. If I won the Herbert Crook Trophy he’d be second. Other cups I won were the United Yeast Trophy and honorable mention in Renshaw’s Marzipan competition.

I worked for some really big businesses in the bakery profession in the UK. People like Joe Lyons, Spillars French, Weston’s, Cadena, Tesco’s, Lowmans. I was also involved with starting the bakery known as The Stairway Bakery in Chandlers Ford. As well as training a number of people at the new Tesco store in Portsmouth and Ryde on the Isle-of-White.

The Portsmouth store had ten bakers, six apprentices, three ladies for packing and three more ladies for the confectionery department. And fifteen cashiers for the counter and another three part-time.

That was perhaps the largest bakery in the way of controlling staff, but not the largest for production. Although that particular bakery held first place in the contest of the number of HOT X BUNS made by hand in a single week. 12,012 dozen to be precise!

Just after that I came to Canada and worked for a time in Provigo and a small bakery in Point Claire, before being asked to operate my brothers business in Port Alberni while he underwent some surgery.

After that I decided to travel to Port Alberni and make it my home for a few years. Where I worked for Super Value for a time before moving to Nanaimo and a small bakery.

 

 

The Crusty Cottage Bakery

The Crusty Cottage Bakery

 

 

Whilst operating a franchise computer cleaning business I was introduced to a bakery by the name of the Cozy Country Bakery. It went into bankruptcy while I was negotiating to buy the business. Which I later purchased and renamed The Crusty Cottage Bakery.

After operating The Crusty Cottage Bakery for nearly four years our landlord from whom we had leased the premises for an agreed five years with a further five year option, gave us just six weeks to get out. (Nice guy).

And, so the picture you see is the bakery I completely designed built and moved into inside of seven weeks.

Not exactly an easy task, as we had to get contractors, gut the entire building. Install new plumbing, toilets, new walls, all new electrical wiring, new floors and then of course we had to dismantle our 120 square foot oven and rebuild it. Install and test all the equipment. Restock our larder and get the word out to our clients that we were back in business.

That’s my history, though I have left out a lot of cheap talk.

I am the author of  How To Start A Bakery.

In business there are no Guarantee’s, but we have tried to include everything I have learnt throughout my 53 year career of a the working bakery, as an employee as well as manager and owner.

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How To Start A Bakery Today?

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John Taberner

May the aroma be with you all!