From apprentice baker to small business owner and supplier, garlic bread guru Jason Scott has come full circle with Foodstuffs South Island, the co-op that gave rise to his success.
Jason and his team at Christchurch based Artisan Bakehouse have been supplying Foodstuffs South Island stores with a range of specialty garlic bread out of his Wigram factory for more than a decade. Artisan Bakehouse uses traditional artisan methods to bake their bread, a 15-year-old starter dough and a 24-hour bulk fermentation process.
He’s come a long way since starting the business, initially baking around 2,000 loaves a month, which has climbed to around 130,000 a month.
“We’re only a small factory in Wigram, we compete with the big fellas, so it’s great to have the support of Foodstuffs South Island and our distributor who have provided us with an opening,” Jason says.
Jason’s baking craftmanship became apparent early on, when he began his career as an apprentice baker at New World Timaru. He quickly became known as a skilled baker, hard-worker, and go-getter, forming good relationships with the store’s bakery manager at the time, Warren Taylor, and his team. He completed his bakery apprenticeship at the store, receiving top marks on the course nationally, and eventually went on to become Assistant Bakery Manager.
“The team at New World helped me find my passion. I was eager to learn and get a good grounding in the trade, so I made the most of my time there to pave the way for my next move, which was to travel the world with my new trade,” Jason says.
He worked as a baker in Ireland for Cuisine de France, which produces French breads and baked goods in the UK and Ireland, and at Coles Supermarket in Australia, before moving on to manage Michel’s Pattisserie in Queensland, one of the biggest pattisserie franchises in Australia.
On returning to New Zealand, Jason worked as a baker for Canterbury University, keeping the bellies of students who lived on campus well fed with his doughy delights.
One day, a distributor came into his bakery to try one of Jason’s garlic bread rolls and liked it so much he asked him to start baking and supplying them for a well known restaurant chain.
Jason jumped at the chance and told himself he’d worry about securing a commercial bakery space to bake the rolls later. Luckily, a friend of his had a space in Timaru, so for several weeks, he split his time between two jobs; working at the uni during the week, and baking in Timaru for the distributor at weekends.
It was then that Jason made the decision to set up his own bakery business and become his own boss, which opened the door to begin supplying his product to supermarkets.
“They wanted me to make garlic bread so i thought, let’s specialise in this product and be the best at it,” Jason says.
“We started off supplying to one New World store and it grew slowly from there.”
To this day, his top seller continues to be Artisan Bakehouse twin pack garlic bread, available at New World stores nationwide.
“We’ve got a really strong presence in Foodstuffs South Island stores, and we’re continuing to roll out more of our product across Foodstuffs North Island stores,” Jason says.
Stephanie Browning, Foodstuffs South Island New World Group Manager, says: “It’s a real privilege to be able to work with local South Island suppliers like Jason. His story is what our co-op is all about.
“Our commitment to supporting our local communities goes beyond just providing food. The co-op places huge emphasis on developing people and providing meaningful work and career pathways.
“We were able to nurture Jason’s considerable talent and help him find a career that has taken him full circle, from New World bakery apprentice to a trusted supplier of incredible products our customers across the South Island love.
“The relationships with our supplier partners, like Artisan Bakehouse, are based on collaboration and shared insights. It’s important for us to be able use our expertise and knowledge to help them refine existing ranges and test new ideas,” continues Steph.
“It’s a pleasure to be involved throughout the process and see our suppliers thrive, and innovate and expand their products,” Steph says.
“The great thing about working with local suppliers is that we can really target what our customers are looking for, and ensure we get the right products on shelf. Working with Jason and seeing his journey with the co-op has been a rewarding experience all-round. He’s come up with a really terrific range of quality locally made products that we’re proud to back 100%.”
Looking back on his 33-year bakery career, Jason says: “It’s pretty cool to come full circle and be a major supplier. I have a bit of pride when I’m in the supermarket and I see my product on the shelves. It’s quite cool when you see your product in someone’s trolley or you go to someone’s place for dinner and they have it on their table.”
-Artisan Bakehouse products are available in the chilled section of PAK’nSAVE and New World stores across the South Island and in some stores in the North Island.
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