Britain's Best Cake's inaugural event will be taking place during the UK Food & Drink Shows at the NEC Birmingham on Monday 29 April 2024 and here are our industry experts who will be involved in this year's judging.

Amy North

Amy North, Editor, British Baker

Amy is responsible for leading and developing all aspects of British Baker’s editorial coverage, from breaking news to in-depth features and analyses covering businesses of all sizes including bakery’s major players and artisanal outlets. She has more than a decade of experience as a journalist, seven years of which have been spent at British Baker. She has a great appreciation of all bakery items from the nostalgia-inducing Blobby biscuits to deep-filled doughnuts (earning her the nickname the ‘Duchess of Doughnuts’).

Charlotte Thompson

Charlotte Thompson, Senior Lecturer FE Bakery, University College Birmingham

Charlotte's culinary journey began in 2001 when she studied Professional Cookery at the College of Food. Upon completing her qualification, she embarked on a career working at a country house hotel in Buckinghamshire, where she catered for a 2AA Rosette Restaurant, afternoon tea, conference, and banqueting facilities.

After two years in Buckinghamshire, Charlotte made the move to London to work at the prestigious five-star Claridges Hotel, specialising in the pastry kitchen. During her time at Claridges, she honed her craft skills in morning goods, chocolate, cake, afternoon tea, and plated desserts to a five-star standard. Returning to Birmingham, Charlotte secured a position at the Hyatt Regency, where she had the opportunity to train in the South of France with Valrhona Chocolate School, sparking her passion for chocolate work. She furthered her expertise through various short courses and training with Valrhona and Callebaut Chocolate Academy, eventually progressing to the role of Senior Pastry Chef.

With a decade of industry experience, Charlotte transitioned to teaching Chocolate and Confectionery at University College Birmingham. During her tenure at UCB, she completed her DTLLS Certificate in Education and a BA (Hons) in Post Compulsory Education, graduating with first-class honours. Charlotte now holds the position of Senior Lecturer and Programme Lead for Bakery Further Education

Chris Atkinson

Chris Atkinson, Buying Manager - ISB, ASDA

Chris is in his 18th year of working for Asda. He started his career with the company by working in stores in a number of managerial roles. He then moved to Head Office as an Operations Manager. Deciding he wanted a career change, Chris moved into the buying side of the business 6 years ago; initially, he was the buyer for the technology department, followed by buying for outdoor equipment. Now, as the In-store Bakery Baker. Chris has been an integral part of team for 2 years and has been involved in Asda’s biggest In-store Bakery refresh and quality investment.

Chris Parrington

Chris Parrington, NPD & Technical Manager, Kluman & Balter

Chris's career in the baking industry started back in 1982 when he joined Hughes Family Bakers on a four-year apprenticeship. In 2012, Chris joined A1 Cake Mixes in the Technical Development & Sales, supporting a launch in ISB with a major retailer, he is currently NPD & Technical Manager for A1 Cake Mixes the Speciality Cake Mix Division of Kluman & Balter.

Daryl Stephenson

Daryl Stephenson, Assessor, Coleg Cambria

Daryl has 28 years of experience in the baking industry, holding various roles such as retail bakery, manufacturing, product development and technical baker. Currently, Daryl is involved in delivering bakery apprenticeships for Coleg Cambria in North Wales and as an ambassador for Tasty Careers Wales, advocating for the baking and food industry.

Emily Leary

Emily Leary, Marketing Manager, The School of Artisan Food

Emily Leary is a chef, multi-award-winning food writer, presenter and photographer, and author of bestselling book, "Get Your Kids to Eat Anything: The 5-phase programme to change the way your family thinks about food”.

Graham Hornigold

Graham Hornigold, Founder, Longboys

Graham’s career has spanned over an impressive twenty-eight years with experience across 5* hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and multiple retail operations. Graham started his career in some of London’s most iconic hotels, building his name and culinary insight as Executive Pastry Chef. During his time working within operations, he won a number of awards including five UK Tea Guild Best Afternoon Tea between 2005–2010, a bachelor’s degree and the title of UK Pastry Chef of the Year in 2007. For the last three years Graham has been developing the Longboys brand from conception, to now having three sites, stockists including Harrods, and an events arm to the business servicing festivals, corporate events and more.

Johanna Moloney

Johanna Moloney, Caketastic Creations

Johanna established Caketastic Creations in 2010 following a redundancy from her lengthy career as a Manufacturing Chemist. Johanna's passion for baking and creativity led her to learn cake decorating for her loved ones, eventually expanding into offering cupcake decorating classes for children during school holidays. In 2015, she introduced her Vintage Caketastic Caravan, a mobile pop-up tearoom serving traditional cakes and Cream Teas on vintage china. Taking a significant step in 2019, Johanna transitioned to commercial premises, solidifying Caketastic Creations with a well-established shop in Middleton, Manchester. Her business has garnered recognition, with the most recent accolade being 'Celebration Cake Business of the Year' at the Baking Industry Awards in 2022.

Lee Pugh

Lee Pugh, Head of Bakery, Cardiff Metropolitan University

Lee has been in the baking industry for over 40 years in various roles from craft baking through to industrial baking product development and international ingredient sales. In his current role as Head of Bakery at ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Lee supports the baking industry throughout Wales with training programmes, product development, and sourcing new ingredients and equipment. Lee also encourages student interest in careers in the baking industry through specialist projects and engagement with industrial partners. Lee is the founder of the Welsh Baking Conference, an annual event which brings together people from across industry to discuss key issues facing the sector in Wales.

Lee Smith

Lee Smith, Baker, Poppyseed Bakery 

Lee began his apprenticeship at Saffron Patisserie in Eastbourne in 1984 whilst he was pursuing Bakery & Confectionary studies at Brighton College. Following his time in local bakeries, he spent four years in London as the Head Baker at The Dorchester Hotel and Sally Clarkes Bakery. In 2003, Lee and his team acquired Bexhill Farm Kitchen in Bexhill-on-Sea, later rebranding it as Poppyseed Bakery upon opening their second shop in 2017. Throughout the years, they have achieved numerous accolades, including winning Britain's Best Loaf four times, World Bread Awards, Baking Industry Awards Speciality Bread of the Year, among others. With five shops and a substantial wholesale operation, Poppyseed Bakery now boasts a team of 71 employees.

Michelle Phillips

Michelle Phillips, Founder, Mimi's Bakehouse

Michelle Phillips focus and passion is and always has been on the food, hospitality and of course cake. She started baking as a child in the 1970’s working in hospitality/restaurants from the age of 16. She also worked in hospitals and then school meals where she won awards for trying to bring proper cooked meals to school dinners, before Jamie Oliver made it cool! Following time spent at small hotels and cafes in 2010 Michelle knew the time had come to do something for herself, selling her family home she opened Mimi’s. She is the current Vice President of the Scottish Bakers Association.

Patrick Wilkins

Patrick Wilkins, President, Craft Bakers Association

Patrick's 32 year career in predominantly specialised areas of the Police Service was followed by senior positions in the charity sector. Currently, among a very busy life, he is a Trustee of a number of charities, including the Bakers Benevolent Society. Throughout his 30 years membership of the Worshipful Company of Bakers Livery Company, including being its Master in 2016-17, his involvement with the baking industry has been extensive. He is currently the National President of the Craft Bakers Association.

Richard Herbert

Richard Herbert, Confectionary Specialist, Sonneveld

Richard has over 35 years experience in the bakery, having started aged 14 in his uncles bakery in Barnsley before studying for a C&G in Bakery & Confectionery at Sheffield Castle College. To widen his bakery experience he, he then spent 3 years working in Germany at the artisan bakery Backparadies Hornung, in Hamburg before returning to the UK to work in the UK retailer ISB space, working his way up from baker to ISB Bakery Manager for a number of different retailers. Richard then used this experience to work in the ingredient market gaining further knowledge and developing his skills. The bakery industry is constantly facing new challenges, whether that be from an ingredient perspective or process constraints, and Richard uses his knowledge and expertise developed over his career to help Sonneveld’s customers navigate these challenges