Bristol and Me: Gary Derham

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This week we speak to Gary Derham, Co-owner of The Bristol Loaf

The Bristol Loaf is an artisan bakery in Redfield, specialising in mainly sourdough organic bread, plus cakes, pastries, savouries, etc. We’ve just been nominated for Best Coffee Shop at the Good Food Awards – it was always the plan to be more than just somewhere to buy bread.

I bought the best coffee machine we could possibly get, the same one they use in the World Barista Championships. It’s a £15,000 investment and a statement – I believe in doing everything the best we possibly can. We buy-in natural organic wine from Billings & Briggs, the local sustainable supplier, serving little glasses from a very small list: one white, one red, changed every fortnight. 

I’m not a trained baker, but have assembled a team who are and can also get up a lot earlier than me; too many years of working in bars and restaurants spoiled my body clock forever. I was one of the directors of the Canteen, No 1 Harbourside, the Harbourside Markets and the Old Market Assembly. 

We’ve doubled in size on our six-month anniversary. We were a victim of our own success, everyone working on top of each other trying to fill local and wholesale orders, so we’ve taken on the unit next door. Recently it was a jeweller’s, but in the 1920s/’30s it was a butcher’s and we found all the old tiles beneath. One side is purely devoted to bread, so you can still enjoy the theatre of people kneading and baking the bread in front of you, and the new side will be everything else with another cafe area and open kitchen so you can see it all happening. 

The area feels very much like Southville did 10 or so years ago, a community of people born and bred here alongside an influx of couples and families. It feels like a young, happening place with a real desire for independent, organic businesses. I love the positive atmosphere of bakery life; the smell gets people halfway down the road, they walk in and are genuinely happy to be in the space. 

www.thebristolloaf.co.uk

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