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Health kick gives rise to planet-friendly bakery

Health kick gives rise to planet-friendly bakery

Friday 15 October 2021

Health kick gives rise to planet-friendly bakery


A 65-year-old, who began baking to avoid additives following a health scare, has opened his own bakery in town - and is giving away all his takings today to "stand up to cancer".

Simon Rodgers opened ‘R&R Bakehouse’ at 55 Bath Street, opposite Iceland supermarket, just as he got the 'all clear' last month.

Prior to entering the world of baking, Simon spent several years working in the finance industry.

As he explains, he arrived in the island 37 years ago with “50 quid” in his back pocket and then worked his way up in the finance industry, becoming a Managing Director for ABN AMRO before setting up his own trust company which he sold in 2002.

 
 
 
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A post shared by R&R Bakehouse (@rrbakehouse)

Video: The bakery sells a range of sourdough loaves and focaccia.

Following this first retirement, Simon returned to the industry before leaving again in 2016 “with the intention to retire” again, but some of his clients decided to follow him and since then he has continued to provide them advice as a “one-man band."

After having part of his liver, part of his bowel and gall bladder removed due to cancer, in addition to an arterial bypass and having two toes amputated, Simon started to look at his diet and got interested in gut health and how it affects all the body.

While he thought he had a good diet, he realised this wasn’t the case as he was, among other things, drinking two litres of Coke in a day “without thinking about it because you are rushing all day”, he said.

“People are under so much pressure they do not have the time to think about what they are or are not putting in their body during the work day,” he said.

One of the things he discovered as part of his research is the amount of additives in store-bought bread, which inspired him to make his own.

RR_Bakehouse2.jpg

Pictured: The bakery is located at 55 Bath Street.

A passionate cook and baker, Simon started making loaves of sourdough bread at home during lockdown for friends and family, who loved them so much they convinced him to sell them.

As he turned 65 just a month ago, some have however questioned his decision, arguing he should be thinking about retiring. While some people take up gardening, Simon joked that he took up opening up a bakery “for sh*ts and giggles”, which became the name of his parent company.

“This is not a job, this is a passion,” Simon said.

“My father was a clergyman, every afternoon at 16:00 it was tea because there was always someone coming for tea or a chat. We always had sandwiches and cakes, all hand made. My earliest memories are helping my mum make the bread and cakes. 

“Everybody my age has the same memory of freshly made bread coming out of the oven, it’s just the best and it sticks with you. 

“I am baking bread the way that every mum and granny used to make bread before 1961when they brought the Chorleywood bread process.”

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Pictured: The bakers, Ian Kirkwood and Jamie Lucas.

At R&R Bakehouse, Simon is surrounded by Ian Kirkwood and Jamie Lucas, neither of whom was a professional baker until they joined him. Ian spent 20 years in banking but decided to change careers in 2020 after being made redundant whilst Jamie started his career in IT.

Ian’s wife, Pam, welcomes customers in the shop, with Karen Cabot looking after the accounts, Renee Hine acting as the bakery’s “swiss army knife” and Simon’s daughter, Emily in charge of marketing. 

The bakery’s ethos as Simon explained is “better bread, better planet, better you”. He has carefully selected organic ingredients with the smallest “food miles” possible, including Jersey sea salt, and uses natural levains. 

“It’s flour and water and whatever happens to flow in the air at the time, as natural as we possibly can be,” he said.

 
 
 
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A post shared by R&R Bakehouse (@rrbakehouse)

He has also rejected single-use plastics, as well gas ovens to avoid using fossil fuels.

He ensures that not too many loaves are baked every day to avoid wastage, but when and if that happens he shares loaves with the Salvation Army, Jersey Hospice Care as well as Family Nursing and Home Care and the hospital, especially the oncology, radiology and phlebotomy services, to thank them for looking after him and saving his life.

As today marks Stand Up to Cancer Day, Simon decided to donate all of the bakery’s takings to the charity.

 
 
 
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A post shared by R&R Bakehouse (@rrbakehouse)

Alongside the usual range of sourdough loaves and focaccia, the bakery will be selling Simon’s award-winning pork pies, Ian’s sausage rolls, and Jamie’s cookies.

Simon said: “It’s my way of giving back.”

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Posted by Scott Mills on
Finally, someone who can bake proper bread in the island. Bet his loaf lasts longer than the journey home!!! Bravo.
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