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Baker of the Year judges PHP contest

Mark Bennett

Cake baking (and cake eating!) enthusiasts in Poole will have the chance to pick up some top tips from Royal wedding cake maker Mark Bennett, when the esteemed local business man judges PHP’s exciting new baking competition, The Great PHP Bake Off.

The inaugural event, organised to encourage PHP residents over the age of 55 to show off their culinary skills and have fun, takes place on Wednesday 13th January 2016 at Simmonds Close sheltered scheme in Oakdale.

Mark Bennett will judge the entries in five categories – best individual cakes, best showstopper/large cakes, best sweet pastries, best savory pastries and best biscuits – and present prizes for each ‘star baker’ at 1.30pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend an exclusive cupcake decorating class, Q&A and cake sale at 2pm. Free refreshments will be available throughout the afternoon.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to Creative Arts for Dementia – a PHP-run arts project which supports people who have recently been diagnosed with dementia, or are experiencing early symptoms of the illness. The initiative is the first of its type in Poole and runs alongside an additional creative programme which supports carers’ well-being.

Mark is the managing director of Patisserie Mark Bennett, which was named Britain’s Best Bakery in the south of England in 2012. Mark runs three stores in Lower Parkstone, Penn Hill and Lilliput. He was named Baker of the Year at the Baking Industry Awards in 2014. Mark was famously approached to make the wedding cake for the Duke and Duchess of York when they married in 1986.

Speaking ahead of The Great PHP Bake Off, Mark said: “I’m really looking forward to The Great PHP Bake Off and to judging all of the entries. There are so many enthusiastic bakers out there, so this event provides a brilliant opportunity for them to compete with other people in Poole.  I very much hope it becomes an annual event.”

PHP Community Involvement Officer Claire Wade added: “We’re so grateful to Mark Bennett for supporting this event. All the proceeds from the cake sale will go to towards PHP’s unique Creative Arts for Dementia programme – please come along and give generously!”

PHP residents can enter the competition here.

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