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.

Our 13th Birthday

“Our 13th birthday celebrates a great effort. It reminds me of the very first thing we wrote down on a piece of paper when we were imagining how we would take a chef-focused craft bakery to a high street – ‘it must be a celebration of bread’. As we celebrate 13 years of baking, our promise remains to be authentic and thoughtful about all we do.  We will do the best we can, every day, and every day we will have some fun doing it. We are grateful to all our partners, employees and customers who have been on this journey with us.” – Tom Molnar, GAIL’s Co-Founder and CEO

To celebrate our 13th birthday, we put our Baker’s Dozen of questions to Tom. Read the full conversation here.

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.

Our Cakes

To mark our Baker’s Dozen Birthday this summer, we’ll be baking two of our favourite cakes, our Flourless Chocolate Cake and our Baked Cheesecake, in miniature form. From 5th July our new mini cakes will replace slices of our Baked Cheesecake, Flourless Chocolate Cake and our Loaf Cake, as we strive to reduce waste in our bakeries.

If you’d like us to bake you a celebration cake or loaf cake for a special occasion, be sure to pre-order one with your local bakery or order online on our website. Our bakers need a little more time whip these up, so let us know before noon two days in advance. We’re also happy to inscribe our round cakes with personal messages.

Baker’s Dozen with Birute

We asked Birute, our Team Leader in Summertown, our Baker’s Dozen of Questions to find out about her two years with GAIL’s, baking bread and how she takes her coffee.

1. What time did you get up this morning?
I get up at 4:45, start the day with a mug of coffee and the TV news then get ready to go.

2. How do you take your coffee?
At home, first thing in the morning, I usually have a big mug of strong filter coffee without milk or sugar. Once I get to work, I love a flat white made with our GAIL’s House Blend.

3. What do you usually have for breakfast?
It varies – either toast with butter, pancakes, poached eggs, or granola with yoghurt.

4. How long have you been working for GAIL’s?
I’ve been working at GAIL’s for over two years. I started as a Customer Service Assistant in Summertown when the bakery first opened there and since then, I have moved up to Team Leader and now train new starters when they join the team. I love my job as I get to work with people, great quality coffee and food (especially the breads) and I enjoy providing excellent customer service to our customers.

5. What’s the first food you remember loving as a child?
My grandmother used to make crêpes with homemade cream and strawberries. It reminds me of times spent with her and sister in my grandmother’s house in the countryside with its huge garden, and how we used to sit in the kitchen near the fireplace hearing stories from her past.

6. Have you ever baked bread? How did it go?
Yes; my mum used to bake white bread and I used to help her when I was a child. Later in life, when I worked as a pastry chef, I used to bake brioche, baguettes and walnut bread – they turned out really well!

7. What does the smell of freshly baked bread remind you of?
My mum’s kitchen.

8. What do you spread on your toast?
Either butter, soft cheese or pâté.

9. What is the best part of your day?
The best part of my day is when I start work. I enjoy it because I have a lot of energy and it’s great to see to see my lovely coworkers and regular customers.

10. What’s in your ultimate sandwich?
My ultimate sandwich would be prawns, hard boiled eggs, iceberg lettuce and mayo on our Barnes Sandwich Loaf.

11. If we could give you a lifetime supply of anything from GAIL’s, what would that be?
The Honey & Almond Sourdough. It doesn’t matter whether it’s toasted or not, it always tastes amazing and I can’t get enough of it.

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?
Coffee, bread, smiles and positive vibes. But more seriously, I always try to treat people the way I would like to be treated, and be respectful of others. A sense of humour is also a very important and helps me even in the most difficult of situations.

13. What would you do for a living, if not this?
Either a psychologist or a pastry chef.

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