Tag Archives: wayne courtney

You want cake? We got cake! The Great Roath Bake Off, Saturday 12 April 2014

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.

Great Roath Bake Off 2014

The Great Roath Bake Off
Wayne Courtney

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.

RoathBakeoff (61 of 146)

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

Great Roath Bake Off 2014 - judges

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

The Great Roath Bake Off on Facebook
Follow @roath_bake

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!

wayne courtney

“Malaysian – Cardiffian – a harmonious fusion between two cultures, two cities and two lifestyles” – Zainah


I am sat at my cafe having a cuppa and reflecting on the last 10 years living in Cardiff. It has been eventful in many ways, yet calming at the same time.

My husband and I actually met in 1991 when we were both studying at Cardiff University. In 1995 we got married in Kuala Lumpur during his year out for his Architecture degree. We returned to Cardiff a happily married couple and stayed for another 12 months. He could have continued his degree at another university, but opted to stay in Cardiff instead. Looking back I think it was because we felt at home in Cardiff but didn’t quite realise it yet.

We left for Malaysia and lived there for another seven years. In the following years, we had two daughters and several jobs. In April 2003, we felt we needed a big change and my husband wanted to study an MsC in Environmental Design. We had the whole of the UK to choose from, but chose Cardiff again. We felt it was the right place to bring up two very young children. When we arrived in Cardiff on the 18 August 2003, it was like we never left. I even caught up with Eastenders within a week!

Cardiff was wonderful for us and our children. Unfortunately recession hit and my husband was made redundant from an architects firm in Cardiff. I was still working at a solicitors office on a part-time basis.

Unable to find a job after 12 months, we made a huge decision for my husband to go back to Kuala Lumpur to work. The plan was for me to try to sell our house and move to Kuala Lumpur with the children once the sale was completed. When the house was put up for sale I had an uneasy feeling. We were well rooted in our lovely Penylan/Roath community and it seemed a little scary moving back to Kuala Lumpur after eight years in Cardiff.

Well, it’s 2013, and we are still here! We had to find a plan B and decided to open a Malaysian Cafe on Wellfield Road. It ‘s called called KL Canolog, named after KL Sentral – the main train station in Kuala Lumpur.

So, we are now in a perfect place. If I were to think back about what we remembered most about Cardiff is probably Roath Park. We used to imagine having a picnic there whilst our two young daughters ran about appreciating the fresh air, the lovely flowers and the friendly Welsh people. This still holds true to me but in the last few years I have had to face animosity for being foreign, for presumably overstaying, for taking what was not ours, basically negative press everyday. This seemed to be everywhere in the UK and not just Wales. We were able to overcome this as there was that Cardiff part in us and in our three children (oops I forgot to mention we adopted my son in 2006 from Malaysia). So we embraced the bad and good.

The 18 of August marks our 10th year in Cardiff (if you include our student days that’ll be 15 years). This is where we call home. We are supporters of the Welsh Rugby team and Cardiff City FC. We are very happy to share our Malaysian heritage with our community and feel that it is time we gave back to Cardiff what we have been enjoying for example Welsh cakes, barra brith, chips from Chippy Lane, to name a few.

I am also getting involved in several causes like the Depressed Cake Shop which has gone global from London to Cardiff, San Francisco and in Kuala Lumpur (organised by my sister living in Kuala Lumpur). This cause has also been mentioned on CNN and the LA Times. It is personal to me as I suffered a major breakdown before KL Canolog opened and have suffered with depression for most of my adult life. My father suffers from it too and it was difficult growing up with depression being such a taboo in the Far East. My daughters and I will be doing the Memory Walk on the 15 of September to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Sadly my mother-in-law is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. My life has changed from working in an office and being surround by four walls and the law. I am a lot happier and I feel working at KL Canolog has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people who are giving back to society and trying to make it a better place to live.

Made in Roath is also fabulous and I am blessed to have met Wayne Courtney and champion for everything good. I would also like to thank Miss Cakehead who is a genius! She has made it possible for me to be brave about my depression.

With everything we have been through, I have come to realise that you can’t take the Malaysian out of us but at the same time you can’t take the Cardiff out of us too. A harmonious fusion between two cultures, two cities and two lifestyles.

Zainah Ismail first came to Cardiff in 1990 to study Law at Cardiff University. After graduating with an LLB Degree, she worked as a banker in Kuala Lumpur. In 2004, Zainah started working at Geldards LLP before deciding to start a Malaysian cafe-deli called KL Canolog with her husband. Besides being involved with The Depressed Cake Shop Cymru and taking part in The Memory Walk, Zainah has recently involved herself with Free Cakes for Wales which provides cakes for adults and children who are unable to afford a birthday cake. Zainah currently lives with her husband, her two daughters and son in Penylan.

Zainah was photographed at KL Canalog by Jon Pountney



Street seen: positive socialising


“Fundraising is my absolute passion. I put on events to raise money for different charities – I raised twelve and a half thousand pounds last year. It started out being quite low-key – I love a good night out, and people started asking me to organise them locally. They’re great events and so much fun – and it’s all for a good cause. I call it positive socialising!”

As seen in: Roath

Read Wayne Courtney’s story for We Are Cardiff

Photograph by Helia Phoenix