Reviving a Cake Shop, Preserving History

January 17, 2012

Last year, Cantabrians and Cambridge University alumni were anguished to discover that a mainstay of our more recent culinary history was slated for the chopping board – Fitzbillies (celebrated cake shop and tea room) was on its last legs, and the future was looking bleak. Stephen Fry himself was sustained by Fitzbillie’s “Stickiest Chelsea Buns in the World” as a student.

Tim Hayward, savior of Fitzbillies

Fast forward a few months, and meet Tim Hayward. Tim is a food writer and cook. He has a column in the FT, is a regular contributor to the Guardian and has recently signed a book deal with Penguin. He sometimes presents the Food Programme on Radio 4 (for which he’s received the Guild of Food Writers ‘Best Broadcaster’ award), publishes the quarterly journal of food writing Fire & Knives and, since June last year has been proprietor of Cambridge’s youngest institution, Fitzbillies bakery in Trumpington St.

Tim’s wife, Alison, grew up in Cambridge and would not tolerate Fitzbillies’ closure. Obviously there was only one course of action available: the husband-and-wife team moved from London, gave the premises a £100,000 facelift, and have breathed new life into the beloved institution. Business is brisk, the menu is vibrant, and while Tim probably won’t be sharing the secret recipe for Fitzbillies’ Chelsea Buns, he will share his story and his passion for what he does.

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