The people in our lives: Tim Newton

Tim Newton is our head baker! The man that makes our delicious pastries and breads and has been with the Foodbarn since 2006. If you have tasted our bread, you will know that he is sincerely passionate about making bread. Quietly going about his work, you don’t really hear Tim say much at all and you have probably never interacted with him but he is a huge part of the success of our bread and pastry selection.

What do you most enjoy about working at the Foodbarn?

I love this environment and I really enjoy my team. The back up I receive from Franck is inspiring. He is a motivator and I respect his gift as a chef. It always amazes me that he is never at a loss for an idea.

What are the challenges of this job

The main issue is time keeping as well as keeping up with the demand.

Our bakers start at 3am and even then, a lot of times some of our items sell out before lunch time.

What part of the work do you enjoy most?

Bread is my favourite, its something that I have grown in to. I find that baking over the last ten years has become so interesting, it is not a static thing and I find it stimulating because it is actually not mundane and it is not the same thing every day. Each day, I am looking to improve.

What do you get up to when you are not baking?

I spend a lot of time walking my dog (anyone who knows Tim, will know that his dog is the number one love of his life). I like to read and spend time with friends. I certainly do not spend time watching tv. I know that I need a rest when I get home from work so that I can begin my day again at 3am. Its not that I am anti social but this job makes it a bit difficult to be social. I have enough of everything I need.

Tim grew up in Kalk Bay and then went to school at Sacs. After school he took up baking at the Western Cape Training Centre. After a stint in Fish Hoek, he ended up at Olympia Cafe and learned the craft from the late great Dave Jones. He is the man who taught him how to make bread and pastries. After that he joined the Farmstall at the Farm Village before it became the Foodbarn. Finally when The Foodbarn came along, Tim was already here. You could say that Tim was here before inception.

What do you see happening in this country?

I spent a lot of time travelling and in 1996 I left London during Winter to come back to South Africa. It was a marvellous time and that is what I think about. We are going through a difficult time but we need to move on and everyone needs to continue on.

Tim has a passion for the Xhosa language.” How can we communicate with our fellow South Africans if we cannot communicate in their language? Some time ago I re connected with my Xhosa teacher.  I speak it to my team as much as I can and Sheila (our Deli Chef) and Aubrey Batala (our other baker) help me by speaking to me in Xhosa.

A few years ago at an awards evening at The Foodbarn, Tim stood up and made a speech to thank his team in Xhosa! Everyone was blown away.

“As for my future at the Foodbarn, I am comfortable where I am.

What can you say to young people out there that are thinking of becoming bakers?

You have to be disciplined and avoid partying too hard because this will clash with your career. You have to make sacrifices but the rewards are worth it. If this is what you are interested in, it is worth it.

Tim is not a man of many words, he prefers to go quietly about his day, covered in flour and dough and going about the business of creating a delicious sourdough or a rye bread.

The next time you drop by, pop your head in to the bakery at the far end of the deli and meet the man that bakes. The real baker!