Special Award for Tapa among The List Eating & Drinking Guide Awards for 2013
Glasgow bakery and coffeehouse given Judges Special Award in The List's annual restaurant round-up
Each year, The List Eating & Drinking Guide presents a Judges' Special Award, recognising the outstanding contribution of an establishment, enterprise, individual or family to the food and drink world in Scotland. In 2013 the winner has been announced as Tapa, the Glasgow bakers and coffee roasters with outlets in Dennistoun and Pollockshaws.
Run by Robert Winters and Virginia Webb, Tapa celebrates their tenth year in 2013 and are recognised for their wide-ranging and positive contribution to the city's food and drink scene with their organic bread and cakes and home-roasted coffee.
Although Winters and Webb first came to the UK from their home in New Zealand in 2001 for a holiday, the fact they ended up staying here and moving to the birthplace of Winters's father turned out to be a very fortunate thing for Glasgow. With no background in food nor any knowledge about running a café, just an idea that they'd like to roast their own coffee and maybe do a bit of baking, in 2003 they took over a small bakery in unfashionable Dennistoun which was about to fall into disuse as the baker was retiring and no-one wanted to take over.
Winters signed up for a baking course, discovering a natural affinity with the process. The organic bread he then began making in the Bakehouse (still the only completely organic bakery in Scotland), as well as coffee from the roaster, soon had the city stirring. Restaurants and cafés began signalling their serious intent when it came to good quality sourcing by phoning Tapa. Without marketing themselves, that phone hasn't stopped ringing, with orders from fine-dining venues, craft brewers and family-run cafés.
While they've expanded with another café in the Southside, the continuing orders for Tapa's range of original products may soon mean a move away from the original, much lived-in and much-loved Bakehouse. But an industrial unit doesn't sit right with Tapa's firm belief that people should be able to buy their food locally, to see it being produced, and to talk to those whose hands make it.
That quiet little food revolution that Tapa started ten years ago, not on the streets but in the delis, and tearooms and bistros across the city, has grown into something much more audible, encapsulating today's ethos of the way we should be growing, buying and consuming our food. We, at least in Glasgow, owe much of that to Tapa.
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