Halima Hamza

Baking has always been a passion for Halima Hamza, so it was a dream come true when she won a scholarship to The School of Artisan Food.

Until then the former French teacher and trilingual interpreter from Algeria had been working as a volunteer with Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum (NNRF).

She gained a refugee scholarship and is now studying towards her Diploma in Artisan Baking at the School.

“This is really like a dream for me,” the 37-year-old says. “It is so deep to be given something that you thought too big to dream about.”

Her aim is to open a bakery and make high quality bread. Selling good bread is like selling happiness, she says. Halima follows in the footsteps of another former NNRF scholar, Baneta Yelda, and hopes to replicate her success. Baneta now co-owns the successful Companio Bakery in Manchester with Neil Large and Phil Pryor, who she met while studying together at The School of Artisan Food.

Said Halima:

“I have been given a big opportunity. I am spending time with students with different backgrounds and different age groups and sharing our stories and recipes. We are all passionate about artisan food. My head is spinning with new knowledge from the tutors here. I am living in a lodge within Welbeck estate – just two minutes away from The School of Artisan Food. I can’t believe how lucky I am! Before I was a bit lost, I did not know what I wanted to do, but now the vision is so clear to me. I visualise myself as a baker enjoying making a healthy artisan bread. I have been offered this great opportunity."

The School of Artisan Food is a not-for-profit organisation and raises bursary money for diploma students that otherwise would not be able to afford the training. Read on to find out more.