Created on July 26, 2021
Becca Crofts loved baking from a very young age. However, it was a graduation present from her parents that really set her on her path to a successful career in baking.
She’s now Head Pastry Chef and Bakery Manager at Marmadukes in Sheffield, where she oversees both the patisserie and bread departments.
It was as a reward for gaining a first-class degree in English Language and Literature that her parents surprised her with a place on a short course at The School of Artisan Food.
“I took part in the Introduction to Patisserie course with Emmanuel Hadjiandrou and, basically, at the end of it, I didn’t want to leave!” she said.
She knew then that she wanted to continue. However, as a Finance Assistant she could not afford the fees for the full-time course. She spoke to the director, who supported her in applying for a bursary and found herself on the Advanced Diploma at the School.
“The day I got my letter of acceptance to The School of Artisan Food was one of overwhelming excitement, as I knew there was an extraordinary adventure ahead!”
She soon found her passion for baking within the patisserie class. “In the pastry kitchen, I felt my creativity alight, and found great joy in developing unique flavour combinations; something which has never left me, and I continue to find daily in my work now.
“I felt right 'at home' at The School of Artisan Food. There was this sense that I’d finally found myself on the right path. The lack of direction I felt prior to attending the course almost instantaneously subsided. It felt like this was where I was meant to be. Alongside that, I was greeted by the friendliest of staff, given warm croissants and immediately introduced to a group of other passionate foodies.”
Becca added: “Most crucially, however, my exposure to high quality, sustainable ingredients and artisanal production processes cultivated a new level of respect for ‘slow food’ systems; long fermented breads, hand rolled chocolate truffles, organic business growth.
“Fermentation is a mind-blowing science, but the principles of time and health extend beyond the bread we bake, and infiltrate all areas of the food system. As artisan bakers we need to strive for quality from the ground up, working with ethical suppliers, nurturing eco systems, creating safe and joyful working environments, and producing exceptional products.”
She has been working at Marmadukes for almost five years now, first working as Front of House before working her way to Head Pastry Chef. She has been running the pastry kitchen as the business has grown from one site to three.
In fact, Becca has recently been joined by four of this year’s School of Artisan Food graduate students – Megs, who is Head Sourdough Baker, Toby, Simon and Sally.
“The Marmadukes Bakery team has grown from 2 people to 11, and counting. It’s a very exciting time! In essence, being a student at The School of Artisan Food really and truly changed my life in every possible way.”