We LOVE our bread - not the processed long-life stuff, but the real deal. Baker David Belcham, aka One Man and His Loaf, is Becca's regular supplier - providing a weekly hit of his delicious sesame seed sourdough. So who is the man behind the loaf?
What do you do for work?
I work as an artisan baker under the name 'One Man and His Loaf'. I use traditional techniques and locally milled organic flour to create and sculpt rustic loaves including sourdough and Scandinavian style rye breads. These are available at The Tiny Bakery in Clarendon Park, Leicester.
What's your proudest career moment so far?
It's not one distinct moment, more the culmination of a number of years of work. I feel a sense of achievement to have learnt a skill from scratch, taking something I was passionate about and turning it into a career. When I see customers return time after time to buy my loaves I feel a sense of pride. This makes the job worthwhile.
What did I want to be growing up?
Just content and fulfilled by my work. I didn't have a clue what that would entail and that worried me. I did however have a clear sense that Monday to Friday, 9-5 was not for me. So I tried a variety of jobs to find something that I was suited to. Once I found that niche, I was motivated to follow that path. I will follow it until that changes.
What's your favourite way to relax and unwind after work?
Plants are another of my passions and I love gardening and being outside. Alongside baking I have studied horticulture and garden design at Brooksby College (in Melton Mowbray) which has provided me with a really good understanding of plants. I have been inspired by planting designers such as Piet Oudolf and Dan Pearson.
I also value time to exercise. It renews me in many ways. I enjoy running and I have also just started attending a yoga class.
When is your weekend?
"Monday, Tuesday is my weekend..."
Saturday is the busiest day at the bakery so luckily I have no problem working on Saturdays... I enjoy the buzz.
However I also do private work at a handful of local gardens maintaining planting designs I have implemented over the last few years so I often work on those gardens during my days off from baking.
What's a typical weekend look like?
I enjoy looking for bargains in charity shops and catching up with friends for coffee. I enjoy trips to garden centres, country walks or meeting up with my family who all live in Leicester.
Due to the early starts that baking involves I often crash out by 9pm. Not rock and roll but just reality.
Ideal weekend break?
I enjoy breaks that are a combination of city and countryside.
I enjoy trips to Bath, Cambridge, York, places with plenty to see and do without being overly hectic. Often trips away will involve a visit to a garden or two.
Describe your ideal Sunday menu...
Breakfast - In bed. Cereals, milk, very strong coffee. Simple. Boring even. That's what I like.
Lunch - Sitting in the garden, sun shining, floriferous plants doing their thing. Avocado on seeded rye, a liberal sprinkle of sea salt and chilli flakes. Simple, again, but effective.
Evening meal - Peter's Pizzeria with my whole family. My nieces and nephews love the place. Delicious and darn effective for all. I don't go enough now I come to think of it. The Strokes playing in the background would be a nice little bonus. One day... someday.
What's your signature dish?
A green risotto. When I bother, I do it the laborious/ traditional way, stirring, ladling stock, all that. I include peas, griddled courgettes and asparagus. I enjoy it served with a big bowl of crispy salad leaves, little gem works a treat as you can use them as a spoon to scoop up the risotto. Crusty loaves of wheat sourdough also make an appearance.
I also make a pretty tasty Panzanella. It's a great way to use up any stale bread. It's the fresh basil that does it, it's got to be loads.
What's in your fridge?
Apples. Cold and crisp. Yogurts. A day without yogs isn't on my agenda. Avocado. I am late, very late, to the avo party but I'm hooked.
Salad leaves. Cherry tomatoes. I like them cold, sorry. Humous. Milk. Jam. Bonne mamam raspberry. Innocent juice- orange, carrot, ginger thing, darn zingy.
Chicken or salmon... or both! Stewed Apple. Dark chocolate. Maybe with hazelnuts.
Quick fire questions - what is your favourite...
Book - Watership Down... Book and film merge for me, but I adore the visuals in both
Film - Lars and the Real Girl
TV series - Animals of Farthing Wood. Watched as a child, but has had a profound effect on me. Much like Watership Down, it tells us a great deal about humanity.
Holiday destination - Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour
Museum - I don't really have one, but I enjoyed Cresswell Crags. If you asked me a favourite garden, then you would have a very long list. I have learnt more from gardens than museums so far in my life.
Word - Contentment
What's your guilty pleasure?
I get carried way with eating cereals straight from the box and handful after handful or raisins. But I'm most guilty, most ashamed by my current ritual of snapping the dark, thin chocolate off the top of Choco Leibniz biscuits, eating that and then putting the biscuit back.
I shouldn't keep doing it but I am not ready to stop...
Where can we follow you?
Facebook: One Man and His Loaf
Instagram: one_man_and_ his_loaf