Saturday, 21 May 2022

Customers queue outside bakery for book signing

Customers queue outside bakery for book signing

THE owners of a bakery in Watlington celebrated the release of their new cookbook by signing copies.

Alex Tait and his teenage daughter Kitty, who run the Orange Bakery in High Street, wrote Breadsong, a collection of recipes from sourdough to snickers cookies.

About 60 people queued in the street to have their copies signed and were rewarded with free cinnamon buns and pecan blondies once they reached the shop.

The book, published by Bloomsbury, was also available to buy from the shop for £20 and copies were sold out within an hour.

Kitty, 18, said: “I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who came. It felt like Christmas quadrupled. I got quite emotional. It just shows how supportive people in Watlington are. This is as much their book as it ours. A couple of people who actually feature in the book were there.

“The first person in the queue was a woman called Ilona Davies, who was actually the first customer we ever served at one of our pop-ups. That was really special.”

Mrs Davies said: “It has been a great pleasure and privilege to get to know Kitty and Al over the last few years. It isn’t only their baking which is extra special but their kindness, care, generosity and genuine interest in their customers too.

“I got chatting to a couple in the queue who had read Kitty’s article in a newspaper at the weekend and had come all the way from Preston specially to meet them and buy signed copies of the book.”

Kitty left school in 2018, when she was just 14, after being diagnosed with depression.

She started baking after watching her dad make a loaf of bread in their kitchen at home and soon became obsessed. She even took to sleeping in the kitchen.

The pair began running a subscription service, which turned into a pop-up stall and eventually they opened the shop.

Mr Tait, 52, said: “It was an editor at Bloomsbury who first approached us about writing a book.

“She’d been drawn into Kitty’s Instagram posts and she could see the story of the bakery beginning to unfold. Bloomsbury were really good about letting us structure the book in the way we wanted and let me include some of my own illustrations. The recipes were all Kitty’s and then we had the brilliant Mark Lord, our photographer, who transformed them into pictures. All in all, the whole thing took about a year or so to write and edit.

“Finally seeing the finished book was astonishing. Seeing it alongside other authors who we really like in the bookshops was surreal.

“There’s a big dose of imposter syndrome but we feel very much like an extension of the bakery itself, warm, friendly, a little odd at times, but hopefully delicious.”

The pair also held a celebration for the book release in the Paddock on Monday which was attended by more than 200 people.

There were games themed around bread, book signings and bread tasting.

Meanwhile, the Taits’ story is set to be made into a film produced by media company Anonymous Content and production house Chapter One.

Kitty said: “We’re so excited about the idea of Breadsong becoming a film but it’s quite scary too. It’s our our personal story so handing that over to others could have been quite nerve-wracking but we knew right away we would be safe with these companies.”

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