Afshin Dianak Shori

When Afshin Dianak arrived in England from Iran five years ago he never thought he would see himself learning how to become a baker.

The 33-year-old electronic engineer is now fast becoming known for his baking skills and is well on his way to realising his new-found ambition to open a bakery and café. 

It was while he was working with an engineering contractor that he found himself working with some of the country’s largest leading bakeries.

“Strangely it made me realise that one of the things I missed from home was the bread,” he said. “Iranian breads are different in shape, size, texture and flavour and I couldn’t find the same here.

“It led me to join a one-day baking course to learn how to make my own bread. It gave me a passion for baking and I knew right then that that is what I wanted to do. From then on I baked every day.”

His contract with the engineering company came to an end and, unable to find another job in engineering, went to work in a café. All the while he planned his next move.

Afshin explained: “I wanted a job that I was passionate about and I knew I wanted to open a bakery. But how do you do that with no money; only a passion? I started to read a lot of books and I was referred to The School of Artisan Food by TERN (The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network) and was awarded a place here on the Advanced Diploma course with a bursary.”

Then just as he was about to start the course, England went into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic and his plans were put on hold for the next six months.

“My wife and I spent all our savings on some bakery equipment and I began to produce Iranian flatbread. I worked hard, starting at 4am in the morning and worked long hours selling my bread. People bought my bread. They liked it! I knew then that there was a need for my bread and so it’s given me something to work towards.”

He added:

“All the pieces in the jigsaw have come together. I’ve found my passion and I’m enjoying my time at The School of Artisan Food. I’m learning new skills that will help me open my own bakehouse and café. I also hope that I shall be able to give back to the community and employ people who have faced similar difficulties and barriers to employment.”

Inspired? Read on to find out more about our Advanced Diploma in Baking.