May 24 - Banker turned baker Tom Molnar tells Reuters how his working life changed after leaving his financial job in London. Reuters' Angeline Ong takes a tour of his successful artisan bakery.
This used to be the playground of Tom Molnar. But after nine years as an energy trader at Cargill and five more at McKinsey Tom Molnar finally saw the light and left the heat of the city for a bakery. SOUNDBITE: Tom Molnar, Co-founder, Gail's Bakery, saying (English): "You know, this is different than showing up every day at 7am in the morning in a job, in an office with thousands of other people and then leaving late at night." Although his city job paid very well, deep down inside, Tom always knew he wanted to work with food, so the switch wasn't difficult. SOUNDBITE: Tom Molnar, Co-founder, Gail's Bakery, saying (English): "My grandfather was in this kind of business. He was a food guy and he was the guy that used to take me around when I was a young guy all my holidays and all my vacations. My first job was at a grocery store so I've been surrounded by food most of my life. This mother dough is something you have to cultivate, you have to refeed the mother, that she's ready to give birth the next day. Managing that wild yeast culture is an incredible skill." Tom invited me to taste one of them of the days which is twenty years old. PTC "It's quite yummy actually, it's like yoghurt." The different doughs go through a lengthy proving process before being scored and placed in the oven. The baker then decides by sight, not by timer if the bread's ready. But when it comes to buying raw materials, timing is key. SOUNDBITE: Tom Molnar, Co-founder, Gail's Bakery, saying (English): "I understand commodities and in the last couple of years, the commodities market has been very volatile. Understanding what's happening and being able to buy ahead, to think about how you purchase things and be smart about the markets too high, let's wait or it's really low let's go and buy the next year's worth of crop." Tom's trading skills seem to be helping the business grow. Gail's now boasts 14 bakeries throughout London and employs more than 600 people. They've also just opened a restaurant called Gail's Kitchen in the heart of the west end. Now that Tom runs his own business would he ever consider going back to the City? SOUNDBITE: Tom Molnar, Co-founder, Gail's Bakery, saying (English): "There's never anyway of going back, I don't want to travel anymore. I want to spend some time with my kids. I'm working huge hours but I'm enjoying it. I want to be around the house." As Tom proves, you don't have to work in the City to make your dough.