Everyone who passes through our door would say he was a lovely man with a bold as brass lively character; We are told he would regularly lean against the front stable door hurling abuse at his customers and locals walking past his shop all in good spirits of course. Apparently his branded bags made it half way around the world.
We have of course had to make some changes to make it into a working bakery but have left lots of the original butchers shop character.
Vanora has a wealth of knowledge of baking and ingredients. She calls herself an old fashioned baker with old fashioned values when it comes to ingredients and methods of baking.
Vanora would make all her bread by hand for the bistro - 20 or 30 loaves a day, no mixer or any mod cons. You would see the dim bistro light flickering many an evening on Beulah Street till very late and then again first thing on a morning before Harrogate woke up and went to work.
It took about a year to convince Vanora to buy a planetary mixer to mix her dough ultimately reducing her working time by hours. She didn't hold back telling me it wasn't artisan bread if she used a mixer!
Vanora learnt the art of sourdough; firstly by taking classes from Phil of Haxby Bakehouse and reading lots of great books such as Bread and then Crust. It was difficult at first but because Vanora had a wealth of practical experience it came quite quickly.
When things heated up with the bistro we employed a baker from Leeds called Wayne who was a purest when it came to bread making. He had worked at a number of artisan bakeries including the Leeds Bread Co-op. He was a cracking lad passing on his art of bread making to Vanora - he still helps today by phone or texts with any niggles Vanora may have...