Gary Belcher from Letchworth, Hertfordshire, has beaten off tough competition from four other finalists to walk away with the Jane Asher Home Baker of the Year trophy and prize of a £25,000 Poggenpohl Kitchen with Miele Appliances.
Belcher’s success comes on the back of recent research which shows that two thirds (63%) of British men are baking more often than their fathers, contributing to the continuing growth of the home baking market.
A record number of entries was also received this year for the annual competition – with an impressive rise in male entries from 5% to 11% since last year.
Open to anyone over 16, the Home Baker of the Year Competition focuses on finding the most interesting and tastiest recipe from entries submitted online via the website homebake.co.uk.
Belcher’s signature dish of Apple and Blueberry Crumble Cake was tasted and scrutinised by a panel of judges including actress and queen of home baking Jane Asher.
“Gary’s cake was delicious,” she commented, “and he’s a very worthy holder of the title of Home Baker of the Year. The standard of recipes we received this year was exceptional and the surge in entries confirms the statistics: that the number of households baking at home is increasing rapidly.
“Partly this is due to a growing interest in the quality of the food we give our families, but also there’s no doubt that the current financial situation emphasises the economic sense of baking at home!”
The runner-ups prizes were a weekend cookery course for two at Lucy Cooks in the Lake District and three luxury hampers of goodies from the Jane Asher Home Baking range.