It may not have been the Great British Bake Off at the Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School but – according to Andrew Taylor from Bakery Ingredient supplier Zeelandia, the atmosphere was every bit as tense when judging began in the school’s version of the competition.

Andrew Taylor explained the rationale of the visit; “The idea of Zeelandia’s visit to the school was to get bright, motivated young people interested in careers in the food industry, as well as teaching them about baking and ingredients. But it wouldn’t exactly have captured their imaginations to limit the session to a discussion about jobs in the food industry, so instead we had a bread and focaccia making session which involved a ‘bake off’ style competition.”

The students who took part were all sixth formers studying food technology at A Level. Their teacher Ms Trohear said, “they are better informed about food, nutrition and the art and science of cooking than other young people of their age, but they’re not necessarily aware of the great career opportunities in the food sector, let alone the food ingredient sector, so having industry experts come in to the school and share their knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm was very inspiring for them. The session on baking covered science elements needed for A Level and, of course, they enjoyed the Bake Off competition enormously.”

This was the first time that Andy Taylor had taken time out of his demanding schedule at Zeelandia to get involved with education. His role as Bakery Technical & Development specialist for the company involves extensive testing of bakery products and ingredients, as well as developing new products and processes in the never-ending quest for great bread, cakes and technical solutions.

Caroline Ratcliffe, marketing executive at Zeelandia said “It is crucial for the food industry to attract a new generation of intelligent, knowledgeable, motivated people – and at Zeelandia we’re determined to support the efforts to spread the word about all the great opportunities in the bakery sector.”