A talented young baker who made history in his native Germany is rising to a new challenge in North Wales.
Lucas Fussnegger became the youngest ever master baker in his homeland and he’s now putting his skills to use at the fast-growing Jones Village Bakery in Wrexham.
The 29-year-old has been appointed as the group’s Master Baker, helping the company’s acclaimed New Product Development department and keeping an eye on quality control in all its bakeries, including the new 140,000 sq foot super bakery that will be operational in July.
His other claim to fame is that he was also a professional cyclist for several years and raced against the likes of Tour de France winners Geraint Thomas and Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Baking though is part of his DNA, having been brought up in his father’s bakery in the small town of Tuttlingen, near the Swiss border, an hour south of Stuttgart.
He left school at 15 to become an apprentice to his father, Claus, and studied for five years at the University Konstanz in Baden-Württemberg.
At the age of 21, Lucas won an award for the achieving the best master’s degree in Germany and was the youngest ever to receive the accolade.
The feat was all the more remarkable because Lucas carried on with his cycling while studying and was a European champion on the track twice, when he was 17 and then again two years later.
And indirectly it was the cycling that brought Lucas to Wales.
He was on a training camp in Majorca with the Proter Focus team when he met and fell in love with a Welsh girl, Katie Woods, from Dolgellau, and the couple have a three-year-old daughter Elena.
For the past five years he has been working in the UK at the technical manager for a German ingredients supplier which is how he came to the attention of Robin Jones, the Managing Director of Jones Village Bakery.
Lucas is now applying the discipline and determination that brought him success on the track to his career in baking.
He said: “I am delighted to be joining the Jones Village Bakery at such an exciting time with the new bakery about to open.
“The company has a brilliant reputation because of the quality of its products – that’s what sets them apart from the rest of the industry.
“They are always raising the bar in terms of quality and there is a constant quest to improve what they do so they always have the best products on the market.
“I just wanted to be a part of the company’s success story and to add to it.
“All of their success has been driven by the Jones family which is something I can relate to as I also come from a family bakery. The ethos is the same and we’re on the same wavelength.”
According to Robin Jones, Lucas was the perfect addition to the senior team at the Village Bakery.
He said: “Lucas comes from a craft baking background and is himself a talented master baker.
“In his previous job, Lucas worked with us for the past five years and he understands the importance of a bakery being run by bakers.
“Lucas will not only focus on new product development but will also be involved in the operational side of things, improving quality and consistency.
“His background as a cyclist has clearly given him a lot of drive and competitiveness and he’s obviously very ambitious.
“It’s funny how fate has brought everything together as he’s married a Welsh girl and that’s how he’s ended up in this country.
“It’s a great opportunity for him and it’s a great opportunity for us – it’s a partnership made in baking heaven.”