As a young girl, watching intently as her granny whipped up all manner of mouthwatering cakes in her kitchen, Melanie Andrews fell in love with baking.

“Walking into her house was like walking into a sweet shop – there were boxes and boxes of cakes, just treats everywhere,” she smiles.

“I still have all her old books – her recipes are the only ones I use.”

She adds: “Well, my granny’s and a few of Mary Berry’s. She’s a passionate baker, and I love that. I met her once in London and she is a lovely lady. I have worked with Paul Hollywood too, who is great but Mary, like my gran - Annie McLeish - is the real deal.”

Self-taught baker and chef Melanie, who has more than 40 years experience in the business, is the driving force behind the Scottish Baking Awards.

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The prestigious event, at Bishopton’s Mar Hall, returns for a ninth year next September, with fantastic new categories and a host of famous names on the judging panel.

“Scotland is a nation of wonderful bakers – we do it very well, and yet we are not very good at promoting ourselves,” says Melanie, who runs Craigard tearoom and restaurant in Helensburgh

“There is no other awards show open to entries of this kind in Scotland, so all the talented bakers have to travel south of the border to take part in the big competitions.

“I’m delighted to be able to bring it back and we have some absolutely fantastic judges on board, some of the best in the business, from Lady Claire Macdonald and Phil Jensen from Extreme Cakemakers, to Masterchef: The Professionals winner Gary McLean from Glasgow City College.”

The awards comprise seven categories – homebaking, patisserie, sugarcraft, cake artistry, chocolate, bread, specialist (dairy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free) and, new for 2020, vegan.

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Melanie explains: “As well as individual entries, we are also inviting Scotland’s universities, schools and colleges to enter teams from their catering departments, at a discounted entry fee.

“It’s really important to encourage emerging talent and Scotland has so much of that.”

To enter the Scottish Baking Awards 2020, which take place on September 5 next year, visit