How did you get to where you are today?
I have always been a baker. After leaving school in the mid-1970s my dad's bakery, Catlins in Grantham, Lincolnshire, was short staffed so I started working there. After studying bakery on day release and full time in Nottingham and London I went to Germany and took a job with a premium German confectioner. I then held a number of jobs, including running a pizza restaurant in southern Spain and being first confectioner and chief patissier on the QEII, where I met my wife. I returned to take over the family business but in 1991 closed it down. I was then asked to manage the Dickinson & Morris pork pie shop in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, where I have now worked for 15 years.
Tell us a bit about Dickinson & Morris.
Pork pies were developed in Melton Mowbray in the 1790s by the hunting gentry and the Dickinson family became known for their pies. The company was founded by John Dickinson in 1851. Dickinson & Morris is now the only pork pie shop in the centre of Melton Mowbray, employing 30 people. There are two shops side by side - Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe and The Sausage Shop. Pork pies make up 50% of our sales and they are also listed in Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Booths.
What has been keeping you busy lately?
We have just finished a rebranding which included new packaging, stronger colours and a stronger logo in the shape of a shield. We have also been working hard to drive awareness of the brand through national press advertising. Furthermore, we have been running advertising on Midlands radio station Saga. We've also been promoting the Dickinson & Morris brand and the mail order business of our website, which has 10,000 customers.
What are your plans for 2006 and beyond?
Our plans focus on our products and we want to continue to build on their success. We want Dickinson & Morris to be known as the maker of the best pork pies. We want to find and look at ways to encourage more customers and attract people to the pie shop. We are members of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association and we are very grateful for Defra's ongoing efforts to obtain PGI status for the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie. We are eagerly awaiting the result of the case, which has now reached the European Court of Justice.