Here at We Are Cardiff, it’s a pretty small crew. When I say pretty small, I mean basically there’s me, plus various others who help out along the way. But there are some people who’ve written for the project AND been long time supporters, AND who keep doing such interesting stuff around the city that we have to keep featuring them.
Wayne Courtney wrote a lovely poem about Roath for We Are Cardiff back in 2011. Since then, he’s arranged a fundraiser for the film that we made, and has appeared on the site again as a ‘dude on the street’ at a street party. He raises thousands of pounds for charity every year, he’s a face you’ll almost certainly recognise from being around Roath, and he’s an all round good egg. The Great Roath Bake Off is his baby, and he was nice enough to write us a little something about the event. Read on, and make sure you get along to the event on Saturday 12 April 2014.
The Great Roath Bake Off
The idea came after a conversation with friends, where we discussed which one amongst us was the best baker, which shop in Cardiff sold the best cakes, and who should have won The Great British Bake Off. I suggested we should have our own Bake Off, just amongst ourselves, just for fun. The owner of The Coffi House said we could use the cafe and said she’d like to bake too. It grew from there! The regulars wanted to bake, and then word spread, and the owner of The Coffi House was inundated with requests for application forms. We set the date, in February 2012.
I had been organising events in Cardiff for some years, but had no idea what to expect when I put up the posters for The Great Roath Bake Off. Lots of people had expressed an interest in the competition, but I had nothing to compare it to. I hadn’t heard of a similar event at that time, and had no idea how many people in Roath thought themselves great bakers.
I got myself a great panel of judges who all wrote food blogs and shared a love of cake. I booked a singer to entertain people while they waited for their cakes to be judged. It was all systems go!
I will never forget as the doors opened for the first Great Roath Bake Off, my first thoughts were ‘how will they all fit in the shop’?? So many people turned up with their cakes and bakes, and unfortunately it was so busy that some didn’t make it into the busy Coffi House. The evening was an amazing success and we raised lots of money for charity and everyone had a great time. I was overwhelmed by how many people turned up and totally underestimated how popular baking is. Apparently, people love cake! Lessons were learnt. I knew if we were to hold the event again it had to have a bigger venue and we had to be able to handle a large crowd.
We practised again later that year, with another Bake Off for the wonderful Made In Roath Festival. This was held at The Milkwood Gallery. Again, a massive turn out and a great success. The desire for cake had not gone away.
For the 2013 Bake Off we had to go bigger, so we booked St Andrews Church Hall on Wellfield Road. I enrolled 14 volunteers, more entertainment, and ten judges. This time the judging panel was made up from food bloggers and some well-known faces from television.
We anticipated about 50 entries maximum, and were shocked from the moment we opened the doors to the Bake Off. Fourteen volunteers could barely cope with the volume of people arriving with baked goods – there were over 100 cakes in the cake category alone! We had over 20 entries in the under 16s category, and nearly 30 bakes including pies and bread, and nearly 20 entries in the professional bake category. Ten judges may sound a lot, but believe me, they struggled to eat their way through the amount of entries!
The 2013 Great Roath Bake Off caught the attention of lots of press and radio stations. With that much tasty fare, can you blame them? Lots of magazines wanted a slice of the action and we were written about many months after the event.
It was another big success you could say but lessons were learnt again. Even with all the help we barely pulled it off, and completely bowled over by the amount of people that entered and attended.
So as The Great Roath Bake Off 2014, approaches what can you expect?
We are ready! We started planning back in October. We are prepared for a large turn out and have an army of volunteers ready to help. We have the most amazing line up of judges, our original judges still with us along with some faces you’ll probably know from the telly. We have entertainment to keep you happy while your entries are judged. There will be stalls, refreshments and raffles. We still give every penny raised to charity. This year we are supporting A6 acute stroke unit UHW and A6 trauma UHW. Very worthwhile causes.
We have grown so much since our first Bake Off. Every year we raise more money, more celebs get involved, and more people enter. But one thing remains constant – and that’s the standard of entries. The quality of the cakes and bakes is amazing, even in our Junior category. This year, to celebrate our younger bakers, we’ll be holding The Great Roath Junior Bake Off on the same day.
Over the years I’ve hosted many events in Cardiff but The Bake Off is by far my favourite. It’s great to see the community come together. It’s not often you see an event that appeals to all ages. It’s amazing to hear from people which have travelled from As far as Bristol or Swansea to enter – all for the love of cake! It’s great to see young people share the same pride as someone who has been baking for over 50 years. It’s also very touching when the traders in Roath donate and sponsor our events, demonstrating the amazing community spirit that’s alive in the area. Also the volunteers who work extremely hard at the Bake Off are totally inspiring.
And when the Bake Off is over and the cake is eaten, it’s great to hand over the money raised to a worthy local charity.
It won’t just be amazing cakes served up at The Great Roath Bake Off 2014. We have …
Beca Lyn Pirkins from last years Great British Bake Off
Nathan Wyburn, artist and finalist from Britains Got Talent
Lauren Harries, finalist from Celebrity Big Brother
Ragsy, finalist from BBC’s The Voice
Chris Needs MBE, radio wales presenter
Owain Wyn Evans, BBC Wales weather presenter
Dave Brooke’s, Real Radio presenter
Singer Calum Ross will host a great afternoon of live music including a performance by Ragsy from The Voice.
Nathan Wyburn will create a special Bake Off inspired portrait.
This year’s Bake Off is also sponsored by CPS Homes, and we’re very grateful for their support!
The Great Roath Bake Off 2014
Saturday April 12th
St. Andrews Church Hall
11am – 5pm
£3 per entry into competition
Photographs by Peri Trigkas
Thanks Wayne! And in case you’re there and want to go over and say hi to him, here’s the lovely Wayne Courtney, as photographed by Simon Ayre!