We do things a little differently at Loaf. We run our bakery, shop and cookery school as a workers co-operative.
There are nine of us, six 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 / Accounts / Director (2009-)
Nancy has been with Loaf since the very early days when it was run from Tom’s home in Cotteridge. Nancy 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. She’d never say this herself but Nancy is one of the reasons that our high street is beginning to flourish.
Sarah – Baker / Director (2013-)
Sarah has brought to Loaf a wealth of professional cake baking experience, with a reputation that goes before her having established Frost & Snow, a successful city centre bakery which trained and employed people who had experienced homelessness and vulnerable housing situations. Sarah now bakes outstanding bread (and cakes) for Loaf full-time. She has a fantastic eye for detail and precision and her work is always beautiful as well as delicious.
Rob – Head Baker / Tutor / Director (2014-)
Rob joined the team in 2014 as a baker. Now a Director at Loaf, Rob can be found leading on company/strategic planning, using a maths degree earned in a previous life. It’s often Rob that comes up with big bakery plans, and his vision has given an expansion to our bread offerings and enabled us to sell great viennoiserie every day. Rob is a friendly and confident tutor, and teaches on all of our bread courses.
Martha – Baker / Courses lead / Director (2014-)
A burst of energy at Loaf – Martha is a whirlwind of enthusiasm and positivity and just gets.stuff.done. She’s super-organised and ensures that the courses run smoothly, liaising with Loaf staff and tutors alike. Martha’s shown she can turn her hand to anything – she is now also a highly-skilled baker and shaper – Christmas stollen is her speciality. A warm soul, you’ll hear Martha’s infectious laugh before you see her!
Molly – Baker / Shop & Sweets lead / Director (2015-)
Molly’s the face you’re likely to see most of at Loaf – either in the shop, on the courses or baking in the cookery school. 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. She gets inspiration for Loaf through seasonal produce and visiting other dream bakeries across the UK. Molly has recently started to make macarons regularly for Loaf which is a real treat.
Alice – Baker / Shop (Sept 2017-)
Alice worked as a chef in London for several years where she particularly liked all things dessert, cake and bread! She is currently on a Masters Degree in Acting at Birmingham Conservatoire and works part-time at Loaf. You will find her in the bakery, helping out in the shop or on one of Loaf’s cookery courses. Both her and Molly bake the weekly sweets in rotation; Alice brings her vast experience as a chef to the table here, complementing Molly’s skills perfectly.
Neil – Baker / Shop / Director (Oct 2017-)
Neil went on one of Tom’s bread-making courses when they were held at his house, back in 2009. He also helped with the renovations of the cookery school before it opened in 2012, and was a volunteer at Stirchley Stores. So really, Neil’s been part of the fabric of Loaf since the beginning, but it was only last year that Neil turned his hand from home-baking to baking professionally for Loaf. Neil’s a brilliant addition to the team and we’re excited about the collaborations he’s working on with Birmingham Brewing Company (Beer Bread / Bread Beer!).
Phil – Baker / Shop / Director / Tutor (Feb 2018-)
Phil is our most recent member of the team, and he’s only been with us a couple of months but he’s already a part of the family – what did we do without him!? Phil came on one of our Earth Oven Building courses in 2013 and has a real love for sourdough pizza. Phil used to be a baker at Peel & Stone in Birmingham so was able to hit the ground running when he joined Loaf. He has a huge amount of ambition and passion and is a great energy for the Loaf atmosphere. Pizza pop-up, please?
Guest Cookery School teachers
Tom – Loaf founder & guest-tutor – 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, and returns occassionally to guest tutor.
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. Gordon also runs BeerBods.