Annabelle Akdeniz: From Clay to Artisan Bread

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Last month, the Ceramics Department welcomed back one of its A-Level pupils from five years ago. Annabelle Akdeniz (Crossways and Charleston, 2008-2013) returned to Bede’s Senior School to meet up with Anthony Hammond and discuss her new and exciting venture into the world of business.

Annabelle and her mother Grail Metcalfe run Belle & Wilde bakery in Sheffield Park, East Sussex. They have created a wide range of gluten-free breads, with flavours including cheese, walnut and smoked paprika, sundried tomato and basil, rosemary, black olive and a whole host of other world flavours. The breads are available from many village stores (including the Upper Dicker Village shop) and a range of farm shops in East Sussex. I was delighted to receive some free samples from Annabelle (and yes, they are truly gorgeous!).

Annabelle reflected upon how the study of Ceramics taught her to be patient, as creating with clay takes a huge amount of time. This too can be said for creating bread products. She is currently developing a range of new shapes, and uses the same skills that have transferred over from working with clay. By studying Ceramics and Photography, her organisational skills had to be top draw for her teachers (myself and Mr Turner) and these are used on a day-to-day basis in the bakery. She also stated that whilst at Bede’s she learnt a great deal with Mrs Ballard on the Professional Chef’s course, and her love of flavour has certainly come through with her new bread line.

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Annabelle has to use Maths on a daily basis; she is overjoyed with this and feels she has improved a huge amount, but would like to thank Mr Backler for his patience while teaching her the subject.

Annabelle is thoroughly enjoying running her own business; it is a tough learning curve but rewarding. She loves travelling all over Sussex meeting customers that enjoy sampling her products, and over the coming months she is looking to break into the London market.

It was fantastic to receive an email from Annabelle and welcome her back for a visit. We love to hear from ex-pupils about their success stories. Annabelle has not changed a bit, she is so full of life and still has a cheeky laugh, and it is very clear to see that she is very passionate and confident about her business.


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