THREE local bakers have fought off fierce competition to make the shortlist of top national industry awards.

Thanks to the votes of their customers and following a rigorous day of judging by some 50 of the industry’s top professionals, The Kandy Bar, Irvine’s, and Beth Brownings have all been shortlisted for a prize in the Scottish Baker of the Year 2019/20 competition.

Stephen McAllister, who owns The Kandy Bar, which has stores in Saltcoats, Kilwinning and West Kilbride, told the Herald: “It means a lot to me and all the team when we keep getting judged the top of the tree in the bakery trade and everyone at Team Kandy Bar is absolutely over the moon to have so many of our products going to receive a top prize in the Scottish Bakery Awards.

“It really is fantastic. It’s judged by experts, so it makes you feel even better.”

Maurice Irvine, owner of Irvine’s Bakery in Beith, said: “We’re delighted to get into the next stage.

“We won the Craft Bakers of the Year last year and we’re hopeful to build on that this year again. It’s great that we’re getting the recognition that we all deserve.”

Beth Browning in Kilwinning said of her bakery’s nomination: “We’re excited. We’re delighted and can’t wait to see the outcome of the judging.

“Fingers crossed!”

Head judge, Robert Ross, added: “With over 8,000 customer votes and in excess of 30,000 individual products votes, for goods baked by the best bakers in the country, Beth Brownings, The Kandy bar, and Irvine’s can be very proud of having made it this far.

“Only the products with the highest percentage in each of the six categories across the three regions were invited to the product judging stage and this year the competition was fierce."

“The Scottish Baker of the Year Awards is one of the most prestigious awards a baker can win, with accolades on offer for the best pies, scones, loaves, savoury items, morning rolls, individual cakes and biscuits as well as the ultimate prize, to be crowned Scottish Baker of the Year” says Alasdair Smith of Scottish Bakers who organise the competition, which is now in its 8th year. 

“So, we are delighted to once again be giving Scottish bakers the chance to shine and showcase their skills."

The winner will be announced at a glittering Gala dinner at the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow on Saturday, June 8.