Baking mogul David Powell awarded Honorary Fellowship at LSBU
22 October 2014
From establishing his own highly successful baking business, to being gowned as Master of the Worshipful Company of Bakers, David has played a significant role in shaping the baking industry, a sector at the heart of London South Bank University (LSBU).
David Powell graduated from the National Bakery School at LSBU in 1977 with a Diploma in Baking Science, and returned to receive the title of Honorary Fellowship at the university's graduation ceremony on Tuesday 21 October.
Over the past few years, David has been one of the main supporters of the recent refurbishment of the National Bakery School. The school's sophisticated facilities include a new demonstration bakery, and it is now offering a new Masters in Baking Technology.
After learning the in-depth crafts of baking and the science behind the craft, David went on to graduate as the top student in his year. This achievement resulted in him being presented with the freedom of the Worshipful Company of Bakers, an honour that paves the way to becoming a Freeman of the City of London. It was to prove the start of a long and beneficial connection.
After graduating with flying colours, David began his career working in retail bakeries, before joining a Belgian ingredient company. This gave him the opportunity to visit some of the best bakeries in the world, opening his eyes to the diverse baking styles and techniques. He then went to work for legendary baker Piero Scacco as technical director. When Piero decided to sell the company, David took this as an opportunity to make his mark in the baking industry and started his own business, David Powell Bakeries.
David realised that in order for his business to succeed, he would have to be a step ahead of his competitors and offer them something they could not find anywhere else. So he decided to specialise in baking the best muffins that could be made, tailoring each product to his customers, with completely different recipes.
David went on to secure contracts for several of the big chains, and also supplied specialty breads and other products to upmarket outlets like Waitrose, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges.
"You might think we couldn't supply three different companies who are rivals, but each company received different style muffins with different ingredients. We even use different chocolate," David explained.
"The National Bakery School shaped my career, and there's still an urgent need for the kind of education it provides, with that solid grounding in scientific principles. Of course, bakers need practical skills. But you've got to have that scientific knowledge if you want to keep innovating and moving forward."
At the recent Baking Industry Awards – the industry's equivalent of the Oscars – David received the prestigious award of Outstanding Contribution to the Baking Industry.
David is also actively involved with fundraising for two charities, the London Symphony Orchestra and Cricket Foundation Chance to Shine.
LSBU Vice-Chancellor David Phoenix said: "We have presented David Powell the Honorary Fellowship award in recognition of his considerable support for charity, as well as his contribution to the baking industry. His remarkable achievements are a great testament to the success we aspire for all our graduates and the impact they can have in their chosen sector when they apply the knowledge they acquired on their course with their own innovation. It is a recipe for success."