Events Real Bread Campaign

Roots to Real Bread

Tuesday 20 February 2024 18:00 21:00

Today Bread, 6-10 Central Parade, 137 Hoe Street, London E17 4RT

Your chance to connect with inspiring Real Bread bakers and business owners.

Leo, Jackie, Eddy, Sareta, Alexandre, Chris. Copyright: Various (see below)

Leo, Jackie, Eddy, Sareta, Alexandre, Chris. Copyright: Various (see below)

On Tuesday 20 February 2024, the Real Bread Campaign and Roots to Work gathered around 45 current and future Real Bread professionals for a business networking evening at Today Bread in Walthamstow.

See photos from the evening

What people said

Of the 12 people who gave feedback:

  • 100% said the event was accessible and inclusive
  • 67% said it was very useful (25% said useful)
  • 58% said it was a very good event (33% said good)
  • 42% said it improved their knowledge/confidence (42% said a lot)

A selection of comments from participants

‘A lovely evening where bakers, millers and growers  young and old , from different places and spaces were able to connect , share, exchange and encourage. The soup was good too!!’ Nic Pomphrey, Breaking Bread

‘Fantastic event in a comfortable atmosphere where everyone was welcome to share opinions,  experiences, encouraging many people to continue to make good quality bread. Please more events like this 🙏’ Giovanni Di Sarno 

‘Great to see so many bakers together and able and willing to share their experiences of baking.’ Matthew Rideout, Knead & Desire Bakehouse

‘I met a really interesting cross section of micro and small(er) bakers. It's both heartening and invigorating to empathise, to advise, to learn and just to socialise with like-minded human beings.’ John Townshend, LocoLoaf

‘Very interesting event. Can’t wait for the next!’ Carla Casadei, Casadei Foods

‘It was a great opportunity to hear bakers talk about their experiences and also to network and share experiences with bread people.   Great to meet the faces behind the Instagram profiles - real people make Real Bread!’ Brenda Daly, Daly Bread

‘So wonderful to have a bread event again after so many months and Covid. Please, please do it again soon!’ Charlotte Crockford, Bake88 

‘There's nothing else quite like this sort of event. If you are, like me, dipping a toe in the world of semi-commercial, bread baking, this is a very friendly, inviting way in. Thank you for putting it on.’ anon

‘What an insightful, informal and enjoyable evening spent with active members of the Real Bread community. Alex from Today Bread was an excellent host and all speakers shared valuable stories and knowledge. A must for anyone thinking of getting involved in the Real Bread industry and supporting the Real Bread Campaign.’ Nadim Othman

‘So useful.’ Stuart Brown, Pan    

The original event listing

Whether you’re starting or developing as a professional Real Bread baker, or aspire to owning a bakery, you’ll have the chance to hear from – and chat with – flour arrangers already doing so.

The event will also be an opportunity for old hands to talk with each other about current challenges and opportunities, pick each other’s brains, nod knowingly about how hard it is to find staff, grit teeth about rising costs and so on…all with people whose eyes light up (rather than glaze over) when you start banging on about bread. Again.

Roots to Real Bread is being run as part of Real Bread Week.

The plan

The evening starts with a host’s welcome and introduction to Today Bread from owner Alexandre Bettler. This will be followed by short talks by:

  • Leo Maxlhaieie owner/head baker of Leo the Baker in Sevenoaks, Kent. 
  • Jackie McKinson, owner/head baker of Aries Bakehouse in Brixton. 
  • Eddy Sleiman, Real Bread Campaign ambassador and owner/head baker of Ed Baker in Lewisham.

Sareta Puri, of Sustain's good food jobs website Roots to Work, and Real Bread Campaign coordinator Chris Young, will also outline some of the work the charity does in support of small businesses.

The floor will then open for anyone to ask questions or share their own thoughts/experience, before everyone gets on with nibbling and nattering for the rest of the evening.

As the event is all about sharing, Today Bread will provide something light to eat (probably soup) and everyone is invited to BYO Real Bread for others to try.

Book now

Advance booking is essential - link at top and bottom of this page.

We don't want cost to be a barrier to anyone joining the party, so tickets are priced on a sliding scale. Please pay what you can as we need to pay our speakers and cover other costs from ticket sales. Any surplus will go to the charity Sustain to help it keep running the Real Bread Campaign.

Your host and speakers

Alexandre Bettler arrived from Switzerland in 2002 to do a master’s degree in communication, art and design at the London Royal College of Art, then opened a graphic design studio with two friends. After working as a designer for more than 15 years, Alex decided to realise his dream of running a bakery and a space for events based around food and friendship. The project began in his Clapton flat as a microbakery, delivering freshly-made Real Bread to local cafés and restaurants. The business grew until the space became too tight so, after two years of looking, he found premises in Walthamstow to make his dream come true by opening Today Bread in 2016. Alex continues to run workshops around the world. As well as baking, Alex shares how to use bread as a tool for communication and therefore how to make companions, from the Latin cum panis – with bread.

Leo Maxlhaieie
Locked down in January 2021, Leo started sharing his Mozambican-inspired Real Bread with his neighbours in Sevenoaks, Kent. News (and the aroma) travelled fast and Leo The Baker quickly became inundated with requests and orders. After 9 months, Leo quit his day job to run his microbakery fulltime. In early 2022, Leo successfully crowdfunded equipment for his new commercial bakehouse to scale up production of baguettes, sourdough loaves, cinnamon buns and more. @leo.thebaker

Jackie McKinson Founder and head baker of Aries Bakehouse at the heart of her local community in Brixton. Jackie started a cake making business from home in around 2001, at first supplying events before setting up a market school. In 2015, she moved her microbakery to a converted garage before relocating to a retail park. In 2019, Jackie moved back to where she had grown up, opening the bakery on the street where her mum ran a sweetshop in the 1980s. Using and selling many ingredients from local and other small producers, the bakery’s range includes sourdough breads, challah on a Friday, and jerk chicken sausage rolls. @brixtonpastrychef @ariesbakehouse

Eddy Sleiman is the founder and head baker at Ed Baker microbakery in Hither Green, London. Eddy has always had the passion for heritage food. His travels tend to be food-destination-centric as research to help him deliver unique culinary experiences. Eddy founded Ed Baker during the lockdowns of 2020, having decided to leave his old trade as chartered marketer and pursue his passion for good food. @iamedbaker

Who's this for?

While everyone is welcome, this networking event is geared towards people who make their living from Real Bread, or are considering doing so, such as current and would-be:

  • Microbakers and small bakery owners.
  • Retail / wholesale bakers.
  • Bakery students.


  • Advance booking essential. No tickets will be available on the door and online booking will close earlier than the event start time.
  • Tickets are transferrable but not refundable.
  • Please aim to arrive at 6pm. The talks will start shortly afterwards. The last hour or so is networking time, so no worries if you need to leave before the end.
  • Timings are approximate and the lineup is subject to change without notice.
  • No refund will be given due to non-availability or minor changes in event details.
  • You will be invited to state any access or dietary requirements when booking.
  • Your ticket doesn’t include drinks, which you will be able to buy during the evening from the bar. Today Bread isn't charging a venue hire fee, so bar takings will help cover their staffing and other costs.
  • We strongly encourage people to travel by public transport, bike or walking. 

Sustain / the Real Bread Campaign works to nurture a more diverse and inclusive community. This includes running events at which everyone feels safe and respected. We will not tolerate any kind of discrimination. Please be considerate of other people’s points of view and avoid using offensive language or inappropriate cultural references. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email event organiser Chris Young.

Will the event be recorded?

Key to this get-together is bringing people together in the same room, which the Real Bread Campaign hasn’t done enough of in recent years. 

Though this particular event won’t be streamed or recorded, previous online events are still available to watch and we hope to do more in future.

All round to yours next time?

Do you run a Real Bread bakery, small mill, cooking/baking school, or grow grain somewhere in the UK? Fancy inviting a load of fellow Real Bread fanatics and other grainiacs round to your gaff?

Drop Chris at the Real Bread Campaign a line to discuss how we might be able to work with you to organise a Real Bread get-together. In particular, we’d love to work with people who can host events in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and other places outside London.

Published Tuesday 20 February 2024

Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.

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