Co Down baker a class act with new cookery school
Co Down's so-called 'Krazi Baker' Mark Douglas has opened a bakery school.
The Dromore school, which cost around £10,000 to kit out, can host eight people and has already given classes to top Northern Ireland restaurant chefs.
Mark said he realised that there was a market for a cookery school when members of the public would watch his on-site cookery displays at festivals and markets, telling him about their memories of mothers and grandmothers who baked on a griddle.
"Sadly it's something which is really dying out much to my horror and I'd like to bring it back," he said.
"Home bakeries used to have everyone do their time on the hotplates, but now it's a skill only one or two people in each place will have. I've always liked teaching, and showing people who were in on work experience how to do it."
Aside from the cookery school, the theatre and taste of freshly tasted breads are a point that sets Mark apart from many of his competitors, he feels.
Cooking from scratch on site can bring its logistical challenges but the baker explained that it gets people excited about baking.
"It's great food hot off the griddle as fresh as it can be; none of this 'today's bread today', it's 'today's bread isn't ready yet'," he said.
Nicknamed 'the Krazi Baker' by a scuba diving friend, Mark specialises in traditional Irish griddle breads and uses tricks such as whiskey soaked sultanas to give his produce a twist.
Mark has already won Great Taste awards for his potato apple and butter shortbread, made with Abernethy Butter.
And he's also announced he will be hosting classes for a travel package run with Newforge House in Craigavon.