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Mich Turner with winning student Tetiana Potapko

Eight students have gone head-to-head to mark the launch of the 2023/24 Scottish Baker of the Year Awards.

The UHI Inverness students were given just 45 minutes to create ‘Scotland on a cake’ in the contest, which was judged by Scottish Bakers ambassador and Little Venice Cake Company founder Mich Turner MBE.

The students were able to call for advice on the day from current Scottish Baker of the Year Paddy Murphy from Inverness-based The Three Little Bakers, and from Scottish Bakers president and McGhees Bakery director Ian McGhee. Vice-President Michelle Phillips of Edinburgh-based Mimi’s Bakehouse was also on hand to offer tips.

Judges decided the best cake was produced by Level 4 Professional Cookery student Tetiana Potapko, who created a cake featuring Nessie in a tam-o-shanter, with detailed hand-painted heather.

“Tetiana’s interpretation of the brief with exceptional hand finishing skills impressed the judges,” explained Turner. “Her attention to detail, technical ability and quality of finish set her apart in a close-run contest.”

The event marked the opening of customer voting for the Scottish Baker of the Year Customer Choice awards. Shoppers vote for their favourite bakery and from these are identified a winner in each of four categories: Craft Baker, Retail Craft Baker, Wholesale Baker and Bakery Café.

“Today I am asking everyone who shops in their local bakery, not just here in Inverness but all across Scotland, to vote for your favourite bakery in the Scottish Baker of the Year Awards 2023/24,” said Turner.

“And if you haven’t shopped in your local bakers for a while, perhaps now is the time to revisit them and try some of their fantastic fresh bakes. Each vote helps recognise the hard work and skill of your favourite local bakery and counts towards the Customer Choice awards.”

Entries have also opened for the Scottish Baker of the Year Awards product categories, added Scottish Bakers chief executive Alasdair Smith.

“We’re inviting bakeries to enter up to 12 products of their choosing for rigorous tasting,” he said.

Award winners will be announced at a gala dinner at the Glasgow Hilton in May.