Last Saturday morning I went to visit Aidan Chapman at the Phoenix Bakery in Weymouth. It was an early start for me as I needed to be there for 6.00am although, according to Aidan, that’s a lay-in for him.
I’ve been commissioned to do some photographs of both the bread and, more importantly in a way, the ‘process’: the fact that this is bread made by hand by someone who’s spent the last 20 years doing nothing but making it. It shows.
When I visited last month to hang my exhibition (still on – go and see it) I had a feeling that it was not actually possible for Aidan to have made all the bread, rolls, pastries, cakes, savories and pizzas that morning: it would have required a team of bakers. But I’ve seen it with my own eyes now. In about three and a half hours, he filled every shelf and display with bread and all the rest by himself. Flour flying; dough being beaten into submission and then lovingly coaxed into shape; oven doors flapping away: awesome! The only help came from coffee and some Gill Scott Heron playing on the sound system. Mel, who runs the actual shop turned up later and was equally impressive at not letting anyone out of the shop without having bought something nice.