Double celebration on baker’s birthday

BAKER Lee Smith celebrated his birthday in style by winning an armful of trophies at a major national event.

Lee, who lives in Eastbourne and works at Farmhouse Kitchen, Bexhill, turned 43 on the same day he won first prize in four different categories in the Master Bakers’ Association competition, plus the accolade for best loaf in show, and also became overall bread category winner with top points.

Lee, pictured with his trophies, was judged best for his Harvester loaf, Four Strand Plait, Cob loaf and Cottage loaf.

He has run the bakery for eight years, with wife Kirsty, having begun his training in Eastbourne and rising rapidly in his profession to become head baker at the Dorchester Hotel in London.

He bakes all the bread at Farmhouse Kitchen himself and works from 10pm-8am six nights a week.

Kirsty said of the competition in Maidstone, “It was lovely. Lee was really pleased because he is working so hard here, he just does it all, and I was obviously ecstatic as well.

“In fact I’ve got the enthusiasm for both of us because he is so modest about it. We are very happy.

“I am so proud because of how hard he works, and how he is so committed to bringing quality, handmade artisan bread to Bexhill. It is all made here on the premises. I can’t believe what he does.”

The couple, who live in Eastbourne, have two sons and it was due to family commitments that Lee stopped working in London and bought the business in Bexhill. Kirsty said, “Lee was interested in this bakery for years before it came up for sale. I remember when we were younger and used to drive past he always said - I’ll have that one day.”