Having worked alongside his brother Gareth during evenings, weekends and holidays in his parents' converted garage making Chorley Cakes, Simon 'graduated' to become a baker when the Thomas family decided to open their first shop in Malton in June 1981.
'In at the deep end' springs to mind! With a couple of weeks' help from an experienced baker, the small team quickly learnt how to produce a range of breads, rolls, cakes and pastries. In those early days it was all about long shifts, early starts, and hard graft – some things never change! He also likes to boast about being the fastest scone maker; the fastest bread molder; the fastest tray washer; the list is endless. Others remain highly skeptical of his claims!
Qualifying at the Baking School of Excellence in Leeds, and spending time visiting and working in bakeries and bakery schools in Germany, Austria, France, Italy and Finland has all helped add to the broad knowledge and range of products that Thomas the Baker can now offer. Product ideas are never something Simon is short of.
Simon likes to think of himself as a bit of a DIY expert. It might not always be a great success, but that's when it comes in handy having a brother in the building trade to help put things right. Always one to get the 'best deal', he never tires of telling anyone prepared to listen how he got the best price for holidays, hotels, car hire, chainsaws or pretty well anything else. Some of his colleagues have suggested he is tight, and has never even paid for his own coffee – a suggestion he strongly refutes!