A MASTER baker from Benfleet is proving he’s got all the right ingredients to become a rising star of the small screen.
John Curtis, 47, is a regular feature in a new TV documentary series about the UK’s biggest bakery chain, Greggs.
The eight-part series - Greggs: More than Meats the Pie - is an access all areas, fly-on-the-wall documentary that goes behind the scenes of all the company’s shops, bakeries and offices.
Mr Curtis, who has lived in Benfleet with his wife Leigh and two daughters for 20 years, said filming was “weird” at first but he got used to it.
He said: “For the first hour or so you are nervous but then you forget they are there and you have a microphone on all the time.
“It’s not as glamorous as I imagined, it’s just a bloke with a camera on his shoulder following you around all day.
“I’m proudly embarrassed. I’m me, I am what I am, but when you see yourself on TV you think ‘do I really look like that?’
“What you do every day you take for granted, to you it’s nothing special but the response we’ve had has been great. It’s a good, fun light-hearted programme.”
Mr Curtis has worked for the High Street giant since the early Eighties after joining as an apprentice. Over the last 20 years he has worked through the ranks to become bakery product quality manager, maintaining the design, quality and consistency of the baked goods.
Mr Curtis, who says his favourite Greggs product is their tasty sausage rolls, is based at the company’s Gosforth bakery in Newcastle, but spends half the week in the north east and the remainder in south Essex.
He added: “I needed a career, when I started we were in another recession and I quickly worked out people always have to eat so getting into the food industry wouldn’t be a bad thing.
“Bread is my thing, that’s what I like to make, but you take a bag of flour and a bucket of water you can then create something that goes on the shelf that people can come along and buy, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
The series has taken just under a year to film and staff and customers from Greggs’ shops and bakeries from Glasgow down to London, and everywhere in between, all feature in the programme.
From product development to laying out new stores, each episode takes a look at every aspect of the business, which serves six million customers a week and employs 20,000 staff.
The show airs on Sky 1HD at 9pm on Mondays and runs for five more weeks.