WHERE IT ALL STARTED
Uncle John’s Bakery was established by Uncle John himself, John Mensah and his wife Emelia Mensah, 20 years ago. The company was birthed as a result of Nana Mary, Uncle John’s mother, passing down the family’s sweet bread secret recipe.
When John and Emelia arrived in the UK in 1982 they missed the sweet aromas of fresh bread that Nana Mary used to bake and longed for warm bread straight out of the oven. They searched tirelessly, but only came across imports that weren’t as good as John’s mother’s recipe. That’s when he decided to bake it himself. He didn’t want other Ghanaians to miss out on the experience, and wanted to help them feel closer to home with his bread.
At the time they couldn’t afford their own bakery and could only afford to use a local bakery at night when it was closed. Emelia’s mum – Mary Fofia Arthur worked in the hotel industry as a caterer and after work would go with Uncle John to the bakery to bake the bread with them at night.
RECIPE PASSED DOWN
She taught them how to make delicious cakes, pies, pastries and donuts to broaden the menu. They baked all night and in the morning Uncle John drove his van to the local stores delivering fresh bread. He would be so tired from working nights that he’d take a nap and thieves would steal the bread from the van.
His wife encouraged him and told him “Obeyeyie” – life will get better in Fanti (local Ghanaian dialect) and that gave him the strength to carry on.
In late 2003, Mary Fofia Arthur sadly passed away. Despite this tragic loss, we honour both Grandmothers as they were the cornerstone in which our current successes have been built from; and their legacy will live on forever through future generations. Over the past 25 years, Uncle Johns Bakery has remained a staple household name within the Afro-Caribbean Community; with a customer reach expanding across the UK as well as within European countries such as Belgium, France, Germany and Italy. We are the first in Europe to create our signature loaf ‘Sweet Bread’ and become the first African British bakery to receive a SALSA accreditation.
We retail in major supermarkets such as Morrisons and collaborated with a number of brands including Dropbox, Ghana Party In The Park, Unicorn Theatre and many more. These achievements have not come easy and have required a lot of hard work. Therefore, we are extremely honoured to have received positive recognition from major institutions such as GUBA, 10 Downing Street, British Baker and Time out magazines. “Obeyeyie” remains as the company slogan, and we are committed to sticking by it despite all challenges – as it has be instrumental in getting us thus far. Life surely did get better and we hope our baked goods will make life just a little better for you too!