Introducing Andrea, our new lead baker

Andrea in his Rise Bakery whites at the recent Foodies Festival...

Andrea in his Rise Bakery whites at the recent Foodies Festival...

Hi Andrea, so tell us a bit about yourself...

Buongiorno! My name is Andrea (pronounced ‘An-drey-a’) and I started as the chef at Rise Bakery just over a month ago. I am originally from Italy but have lived in London for six years now. 

What were you doing before you joined us at Rise?

Before coming to Rise, I managed a nearby social enterprise coffee shop, running the kitchen and working front of house as a barista. There I got experience of working with people affected by drug and alcohol problems. Prior to that I worked as a chef at Whitechapel Gallery where I did a lot of baking. 

What is your favourite baking recipe?

Apart from Rise Brownies, of course, my favourite things to bake are traditional cakes such as carrot cake. However, the first cake I taught my new baking trainees back in October was pumpkin and rosemary cake. We picked the herbs from the amazing Providence Row roof garden. 

What do you love most about baking?

I have always loved to watch cakes rising in the oven. My favourite bit of #GBBO is when they sit on the floor and stare at the oven waiting for their creations to take shape. 

What’s a day in the life of a Rise Baker like?

The first thing I do every day when I arrive at the Rise kitchen is to check the orders and then make sure everyone knows what they are doing. My aim is to equip volunteers and trainees to do everything themselves rather than have them watch me, so they can get stuck in and be really creative with their baking. Every Friday I teach the baking trainees how to make a different cake which they then get to take away with them to enjoy.  Right now we’re getting ready for the Christmas Foodies Festival. I’m going to take the trainees so they can see and try different baked goods from other bakeries and experience a new environment. 

Describe Rise in three words. 

Empowering. Inspiring. Fun. 

And finally, mince pies or panettone? 

I could eat mince pies 365 days a year! I would eat mincemeat on toast. Mmm warm mince pie with custard. I’m gonna have that for dinner now.