Baker’s Dozen with Valerica

We asked Valerica, who’s been with GAIL’s for twelve of our thirteen years, our Baker’s Dozen of questions to find out about her time at GAIL’s and her enduring love of Cinnamon Buns.

1. What time did you get up this morning? What’s your morning routine?
I wake up at 3.30am to get to work and and start baking at 5am.

2. How do you take your coffee?
I only drink espresso.

3. What do you usually have for breakfast?
I wait until I’ve baked the first batch of Cinnamon Buns in the morning, then have a warm bun and an espresso for breakfast. I eat a lot of Cinnamon Buns!

4. How long have you been working for GAIL’s?
I started working for GAIL’s in October 2006 in the Hampstead bakery as a kitchen porter. After a few months, the baker asked me to join them in the kitchen and I loved it. When we opened the second bakery in Notting Hill six months later, I moved there to work as a baker. I went back to work in Hampstead for a few years and have been working as the Head Baker in Seymour Place for four years now.

5. What’s the first food you remember loving as a child?
My mother always baked apple pie in a wood oven outside. It reminds me of running around barefoot as a child.

6. Have you ever baked bread?
Of course!

7. What does the smell of freshly baked bread remind you of?
It reminds me of my childhood, when my mother would bake bread, then share it between my brothers and sisters.

8. What do you spread on your toast?
Butter and strawberry jam.

9. What is the best part of your day?
I’m happiest in the morning, when everything’s quiet and it smells like baking pasty.

10. What’s in your ultimate sandwich?
Avocado and tomato on Russian Rye Sourdough. 

11. If we could give you a lifetime supply of anything from GAIL’s, what would that be?
I would choose the cookbook, then I can have everything! Or the Cinnamon Buns…

12. Our bread is made with three primary ingredients. Four if you include time. What are the main ingredients in your life and work, concrete or abstract?
Hard work, positivity and working together.

13. What would you do for a living, if not this?
I’d love to be a judge, in charge and making the decisions.

Baker’s Dozen with Adriana

We caught up with our Coffee Trainer, Adriana, to find out about her career with GAIL’s, growing up in Italy and how she takes her coffee.

1. What time did you get up this morning?
I woke up at 6am. I always get up a little earlier than I have to because I like to leave enough time for breakfast without rushing.

2. How do you take your coffee?
I mostly drink espresso and filter coffee but I have to try all of our coffees and hot drinks when I’m training baristas and doing quality checks.

3. What do you usually have for breakfast?
When I’m in the UK, I have coffee and coconut yogurt with granola. I could write a book about what I eat for breakfast back in Italy (you know moms, they like to feed you when you come home!).

4. How long have you been working for GAIL’s?
I joined GAIL’s in December 2015 as a barista in South Kensington. I progressed to Head Barista, which meant training and supporting the new baristas in the bakery, then in March this year I was promoted again to become a Coffee Trainer in our Coffee Team. During my time at GAIL’s, I’ve really enjoyed the training as it’s great to learn new things.

5. What’s the first food you remember loving as a child?
My mom’s aubergine meatballs and my sister’s custard and strawberry cake.

6. Have you ever baked bread? How did it go?
Of course! I learned when I was a child and still bake with my sisters and friends. But most of the time we bake pizza.

7. What does the smell of freshly baked bread remind you of?
Family. Growing up, I remember watching my grandma and my aunts baking. My family have a wood fired oven in the backyard to bake bread and pizza. Just thinking about it makes me feel nostalgic and hungry at the same time!

8. What do you spread on your toast?
Nutella (I’m Italian!) but I also love peanut butter and homemade jam.

9. What is the best part of your day?
I love the quiet of late nights.

10. What’s in your ultimate sandwich?
That’s easy – Mixed Olive Sourdough with mortadella.

11. If we could give you a lifetime supply of anything from GAIL’s, what would that be?
The Mini Salmon & Avocado Yoghurt on a Poppyseed Roll. It’s been my lunch almost every day since I started.

12. Our bread is made with three primary ingredients. Four if you include time. What are the main ingredients in your life and work, concrete or abstract?
Loyalty, humility and constant learning; both in work and in life.

13. What would you do for a living, if not this?
I grew up on a farm and I’ve always loved animals, so probably something to do with animals.

Baker’s Dozen with Tom

To coincide with our 13th birthday, we asked Tom, our CEO and co-founder, our Baker’s Dozen of questions to find out how he takes his coffee and where his love for bread began.

1. What time did you get up this morning?
3am to take care of my hungry jet-lagged 11 year old and then again at 0630h – normal time to let the dog out, wake the kids and make a coffee.

2. How do you take your coffee?
I like it black – double espressos for me.

3. What do you usually have for breakfast?
I love porridge and a digestive.

4. Why do you think good bread is so important?
It is versatile and healthy.

4. What’s the first food you remember loving as a child?
My great-grandmom’s bread – her name was actually Grandmom Bread.

5. Have you ever baked bread? How did that go?
Tried once and it was a disaster.  My pancakes are better, my scrambled eggs are superb.

6. What does the smell of freshly baked bread remind you of?
A simple table in a simple kitichen.

7. What do you spread on your toast?
I love a good rich butter, but recently I have fallen for whey.

8. What is the best part of your day?
The part after your first coffee.

9. What’s in your ultimate sandwich?
Tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella.

10. What GAIL’s product could you never live without?
The seeded crackers.

11. Bread is made with three primary ingredients. Four if you include time. What are the main ingredients in your life and work, concrete or abstract?
I need family, poetry, laughter and water.

12. What would you do for a living, if not this?
I wanted to be a fish farmer.  I still have time.

The Baker’s Dozen Birthday

We’re celebrating our Baker’s Dozen Birthday this summer, marking 13 years since we first fired up our ovens in Hampstead. We’ll be kicking off with a weekend of celebrations on 7th & 8th July in the bakery, so be sure to pop along and celebrate with us. We’re excited to give away 13 golden tickets for a year’s supply of bread. Winners will be randomly selected from our mailing list, from competition posts on social media and by entering on our website. Enter here. 

A birthday isn’t a birthday without cake, so to celebrate we’re baking two of our favourite cakes in miniature form with a limited edition birthday cake box.

In reflecting on the last 13 years we’ve also chosen our 13 favourite bakes, including our Cinnamon Bun, Brownie Finger and, of course, French Dark Sourdough. Order online.

“It must be a celebration of bread.” Our founder, Tom, talks about why our 13th birthday feels special.

New Mini Cakes

To celebrate our birthday, we’re baking two of our favourite cakes, the Flourless Chocolate Cake, and the Baked Cheesecake, in miniature form. Find them in your local bakery, with our limited edition cake box, from 5th July. Mini cakes and large celebration cakes are available for pre-order online or you can pop into your local GAIL’s. We are happy to inscribe cakes with personal, special messages.

 

Mini Flourless Chocolate Cake

Our Flourless Chocolate Cake is made with dark chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar and pure cocoa powder – that’s it. Essentially, it’s a baked chocolate mousse, which means we try to capture as much air in the cake mixture as possible, before gently pouring the mousse into moulds and baking on a very low heat until the cake is just set. The result is a rich but not overly sweet cake with deep cocoa notes and a feather-light texture.

 

Mini Baked Cheesecake

We’ve slightly changed our cheesecake recipe, dropping the white chocolate and reducing the sugar content so it’s now slightly sharp, tangy and fresh tasting. We pour the cream cheese custard mixture, made with vanilla, eggs and sugar, over the buttery crumble base, then bake the cheesecake for a little less time than before for a smooth and creamy texture.

 

And we’re already baking three new mini cakes for summer; a vegan Chocolate & Tahini Bite with sesame seeds and dark chocolate chunks, our sticky and fragrant Passionfruit & Coconut Cake, and our Berry & Polenta Cake which we make with polenta and ground almonds. Order online now. 

Baker’s Dozen with Freddie Garland

In the lead up to our next flower arranging evening with Freddie’s Flowers, we asked their founder, Freddie Garland, our Baker’s Dozen of questions to find out more about life in the world of flora.

1. What time did you get up this morning?
6am

2. How do you take your coffee?
Black

3. What do you usually have for breakfast?
Weetabix

4. How do you and GAIL’s know each other?
I love GAIL’s and excitingly, we have just started doing flower arranging workshops together.

5. What’s the first food you remember loving as a child?
Proper tomato pasta.

6. Have you ever baked bread? How did that go?
Regretfully, I haven’t.

7. What does the smell of freshly baked bread remind you of?
Freshly baked bread!

8. What do you spread on your toast?
Salted butter and marmalade.

9. For us, bread is the fundamental thing. What’s fundamental for you?
Flowers.

10. What’s in your ultimate sandwich?
Bacon and HP sauce on soft white bread. 

11. If we could give you a lifetime supply of anything we make, what would that be?
Any of the mini sandwiches. Yum.

12. We work with three primary ingredients. Six if you include time. What are the main ingredients in your life and work, concrete or abstract?
I have to say flowers again. Radio 2, Radio 6 or LBC. SkyNews. Test cricket. Documentaries. My very lovely wife.

13. What would you do for a living if not this?
I have always wanted to own an independent café… that’s next on the to do list!

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