He came to Scotland in 2012, where he again started baking at home and got involved in a number of volunteering and food-related projects with the University’s student union and Bread Matters, which sparked the idea to set up a community supported bakery during a 2013 “Baking for community” course. He wanted to provide a concrete alternative to mass-produced, additive-laden bread while educating and supporting the student population and the wider community to make informed choices about the sourcing of their food.
Encouraged by the support and interest he received from the university community, friends and family, he decided to set up the bakery in 2014.
At the beginning Théo and two other amateur passionate bakers would cook from their own kitchens and take orders from friends. After a couple of months and a steady number of repeat orders, they decided to set up a bread order scheme. Still now, they send a newsletter at the beginning of each week, announcing what type of bread is available, and where it could be picked up from, alongside updates from the business and the wider Real Bread movement.
The best part of 2015 was spent building on this momentum. After receiving a Start It award from Firstport, they decided to incorporate as a Community Interest Company (CIC) - a form of social enterprise with locked assets and a social mission, which directs how to spend the company’s surplus profit.
In the summer of 2015, the bakery got in touch with the Hillview Community Centre Association and decided to settle for premises in the kitchen there, from which they officially opened in December 2015. They've been running from there ever since, baking bread for the community and running sourdough bread workshops every month.
In 2017 Riverside Bakery CIC started a collaboration with Forth Valley Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, and got involved with their weekly Recovery café in Alloa. Since then, they have been running weekly bread making sessions, where participants on their path to recovery can learn to make bread for themselves and to share at the following café. It's early stages and the project is evolving towards a more integrated social enterprise model supporting the participants into meaningful and positive work, and strengthening communities. Riverside Bakery also works with a number of local schools and nurseries, taking bread making to food and technology departments, and participating in local food events in the area.
Bread is an integral part of our culture, and we have to acknowledge it and value it at every step of the process.
Do you share Theo’s passion for local, sustainable food? If you have an idea, we have some cash up for grabs to make it happen! Find out more about Pounds for Purpose now.