We do things a little differently at Loaf. We run our bakery, shop and cookery school as a workers co-operative.
There are eight of us, all of whom are directors. There is no hierarchy, we all have an equal say and equal pay – we make the same dough, regardless of whether a co-op member is a baker, in the shop or managing the accounts.
Nancy – Baker / Admin / Director (2009-)
Nancy has been with Loaf since the the beginning. She has a wealth of hands-on experience in worker co-ops and building community – she was part of the founding team of Birmingham Bike Foundry – and also set up Stirchley Community Market. Nancy ensures that Loaf’s ethics run deep through the organisation.
Sarah – Baker / Director (2013-)
One of our longest serving members, Sarah bakes, and she bakes well. And that’s all she wants to say.
Martha – Baker / Courses lead / Admin / Director (2014-)
It sometimes feels like Martha could run all of Loaf on her own if necessary. She bakes, sells, teaches, accounts, rotas and ensures everything’s working smoothly. A whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm, her dream is simply for Loaf to be the best it can be. She has a small dog. This is important.
Molly – Baker / Shop / Sweets lead / Director (2015-)
Molly’s the Loaf all-rounder, able to put her hand to all aspects of the business from the bakery to the cookery school to the shop. Molly comes from an artistic background and is a talented illustrator. She feeds this creativity into her making of sweets; always keen to try out new recipes and hone her craft. You’ll often see her in the kitchen on Fridays, patiently hand-making the hundreds of croissants you all demand on a Saturday morning.
Neil – Baker / Shop / Director (Oct 2017-)
Neil went on one of Loaf’s bread-making courses when they were held at Tom’s house, back in 2009. He also helped with the renovations of the cookery school when opened in 2012, and was a volunteer in the shop. A keen home baker he asked to shadow in the bakery to learn how it worked and when a vacancy came up he joined full time, quickly becoming an essential member of our baking team. Neil’s been part of the fabric of Loaf since the beginning and is a true Loaf success story!
Phil – Baker / Tutor / Director (Feb 2018-)
Phil fell in love with sourdough on one of Loaf’s courses back in the day, trained himself up and is now a key member of our baking team. He teaches our pasta course and brings his passion for pizza to the Wednesday lunches. Outside of Loaf he’s a keen cyclist and Bike Polo player and sports a fine ginger beard.
Rachel – Baker / Director (Oct 2018-)
Rachel is an ambitious and enthusiastic baker who is helping drive the future of Loaf. Knowledgable about the science and art of baking she’s happy to answer any questions and preach the gospel of Real Bread. Always experimenting, if there’s a particularly outré sourdough special on the shelf it’s probably one of hers. Outside of Loaf, Rachel is most likely playing too many video games.
Pete – Office / Shop / Director (Oct 2018 -)
Pete has been on the periphery of Loaf since the beginning and finally made it official when Nancy’s maternity leave left a void in the back-office. The only member who can’t bake, he gets his kicks from making the spreadsheets add up and will be leading the development of Loaf’s business into the future. A practicing artist you’ll often find him in Artefact, where he runs the regular Stirchley Salon, or roaming the city with a camera or two. He’s a keen rabbit owner and can bore you to tears about them.
Guest Cookery School teachers
Lap-fai Lee – A cook, tutor, food stylist, photographer and foodist. Lap has incredible technical skill and experience, and you can learn from him on a roster of courses he teaches at Loaf. He also serves up incredible dishes at course-related pop-up events in the cookery school.
Haseen Multhalali – Haseen works under the guise of Pop Up Dosa, a roaming dosa-cafe which started as an at-home restaurant for those in the know, and now pops up at cafes, markets, pubs and restaurants across the city. Haseen teaches the Dosa course, where you make the speciality indian pancakes and its accompaniments, as well as teaching our Thaali course – a celebratory feast encompassing no less than six dishes (and flavours) on one plate.
Rachel Carter – Rachel is a friend of Loaf and resident of Kings Heath. We stock some of her range, Cuffufle Preserves, which includes homemade jams, cordials, vinegars, oils and mustards. She uses all organic ingredients – and local, where possible. Ethics and sustainability are embedded in Rachel’s philosophy, and she focuses on quality not quantity. Rachel teaches our Preserving course.
Steve Rossiter – Steve is the owner/founder of Rossiters Organic Butchers in Bournville, where we source all of the meat we use in the cookery school and bakery. Steve teaches on the Pork Butchery and Charcuterie course with Lap-fai Lee.
Gordon Stovin – Gordon is a real-bread enthusiast and outstanding baker. He’s been teaching once a month at Loaf on our Bread: Back to Basics course.
Gone but not forgotten
Everyone who’s worked at Loaf has made their mark in some way. Here’s who used to make and sell you your daily bread.
Tom – Loaf founder (2009-2017) –Tom Baker began baking and teaching from his home kitchen in Cotteridge in 2009. He started Loaf as a community-supported bakery after being inspired by the Real Bread conference, and began baking for neighbours once a week using a wood-fired oven in his back garden. Tom left Loaf in early 2017 to run Rye & Roses in Machynlleth.
Rob (2014-2018) – Rob joined the team in 2014 as a baker and lead on company/strategic planning, using a maths degree earned in a previous life. Rob came up with the big bakery plans, and his vision gave an expansion to our bread offerings and enabled us to sell great viennoiserie every day. Rob left in 2018 to start a new career as a maths teacher.
Alice (2017-18) – Alice worked as a chef in London for several years where she particularly liked all things dessert, cake and bread! She worked part-time at Loaf while studying for her Masters Degree in Acting at Birmingham Conservatoire and having completed that is back in London pursuing that career. We look forward to seeing her on stage and screen!
Kerry (2017-18) – Kerry worked in the shop and brought her considerable design skills along, revamping our logo and identity.
Dom – Dom was a baker when we opened on Stirchley high street and now runs Can Eat a few doors down the road.
Jordan – Jordan ran the shop from 2014 while setting up her plant and flowers business, Isherwoods, now a staple part of Stirchley high street.
We’ll be adding the rest of the old gang here soon!