November 2020

Keira’s patisserie rises to pandemic challenges to be named best in region

By Melanie Hall

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A former bakery student from University College Birmingham has risen to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic to win a top award for her family patisserie.

The Pinwheel Patisserie on the Fosse Way in Leamington, owned by Keira Roe and her mum Trixie, had only just opened when lockdown hit in March.

However, by going over and above for customers with its handmade delicacies, the shop not only survived, but was named Central England Patisserie of the Year 2020/21 in the Corporate Livewire Central England Prestige Awards.

"We use locally sourced ingredients and local suppliers wherever possible... As a small local business, we want to support other small local businesses too."

Keira Roe Owner, The Pinwheel Patisserie

Keira – who studied the equivalent of Level 2 and 3 Bakery at University College Birmingham from 2005 to 2008 – said when they first opened, things were far from rosy.

“After being in business since the start of March this year, we haven't had the easiest of beginnings,” she said.

"However, we learned to adapt quickly and look after our customers to help them through strange times."

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, there was no ceremony, but talking about their award, she added: "We were surprised to hear we had been nominated and were overjoyed to receive the award.

"Our small team is like a family to us and we couldn't be prouder of each other. We see our customers as friends and without their continued support and custom, we wouldn't be where we are today.

"We use locally sourced ingredients and local suppliers wherever possible, and will always hold true to this. As a small local business, we want to support other small local businesses too.

"We look forward to calmer times ahead – and lots of new exciting ventures in the future."

Keira knew from the age of five that she wanted to be a chef, specifically a 'sweet chef'.

Hailing from a family of baking enthusiasts, there were often freshly-baked goods in the house. Of particular inspiration was her German grandmother, who introduced her to new recipes and old family traditions.

At 16, Keira left her home in the Yorkshire Dales for the bright lights of Birmingham. Learning to bake professionally at University College Birmingham – then dubbed the College of Cakes – she perfected her art in everything from bread and cakes to sugar craft, chocolaterie and pastry.

Using the skills she learned at college, she went on to work as a pastry chef in high-end country hotels, Swiss and French patisseries and Selfridges, learning her trade from some of the best pastry chefs in the industry.

Talking about The Pinwheel Patisserie, the Prestige guide who led the awards said: "The judges were impressed with your team’s personal touch, consistency of reviews and passion for what you do.

"You seem to go over and above for your customers and I hope this achievement brings more success during these difficult times."

University College Birmingham offers a variety of college, undergraduate and postgraduate courses within its College of Food and Hospitality Management for anyone looking to forge a career in food, bakery or hospitality.

Find out more about our range of courses here.

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