“For many years it was a daydream desire of mine to open a bakery. I grew up in a household where my Mum baked bread, stubbornly refusing to succumb to the ‘life is too short’ mantra that was persuading us to get out of the kitchen in the 1970s and to buy white sliced ‘Mother’s Pride’. I have for many years been interested in the politics of food, how food is sold to us and the effect that food has on our health, happiness and well-being and of course the environment. Bread is the perfect example of how our food culture broke down in the 1960s onwards and it really heralded the start of a drive by large food manufacturers to seduce us out of our kitchens and to embrace any food item that reduced our effort at cooking, quick was good. In those early days we trusted that what was being sold to us would do us no harm.
Growing up in a council house in Basingstoke with not a lot of money, it was always important to my mother that we were fed properly. Mum had the conviction that to eat wholesome food was more important than satisfying your hunger.Growing up in a council house in Basingstoke with not a lot of money, it was always important to my mother that we were fed properly. Mum had the conviction that to eat wholesome food was more important than satisfying your hunger.”
Then when Romilla had children, she saw instantly the impact food had on them, that she could light up their senses with something simple and good and have such a positive effect on their health and well-being. “I remember when my ﬁrst son Joe was still little and being in the supermarket buying ﬁsh ﬁngers for his dinner. I had a moment that changed me, when I held myself accountable for not making the ﬁsh ﬁngers myself. I asked myself what was stopping me when I had the time and the education to know it was so much better for him and me to do this. And so I did.
It was around 2012 that I started to look at the possibilities of opening a bakery. Living out in a rural part of Hampshire it was almost impossible to get good bread. The supermarkets at that time had their ‘in store bakeries’ but it was clear to me that they weren’t really interested in producing the real thing, but more the allusion of freshly baked bread. If I wanted good bread I felt that others would want it as well and there could be a market for it away from the supermarkets. I also wanted to prove that good food, real food can get to the consumer at a reasonable price and that a business doing so with principles, ethics and an ethos can still make a profit. I spoke to various experts in the business, all of whom suggested that it was an ill conceived venture and as a result I put the bakery idea on the back burner.”