Bridge Town Canteen Altofts: Meet the former electrician turned award-winning Wakefield pie chef

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A Wakefield foodie who quit his trade as an electrician to retrain as a chef has been recognised in the British Pie Awards.

Rob Taylor, 40, scooped two silver awards and one bronze trophy in the national competition, with judges praising his Bridge Town Pie Company. 

The business, which he runs along with Bridge Town Canteen, operates from the Horse and Jockey pub in Wakefield village Altofts, near Normanton, which Rob said “has gone from strength to strength”. 

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“I didn’t expect to do much in the awards so it was a nice surprise,” Rob told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“The customers are always the most important, but it was great to get feedback and recognition by people who are experts in the field. Next year, hopefully we can bring some golds and category wins back home.”

Former electrician turned chef Rob Taylor, of Bridge Town Pie Company and Bridge Town Canteen, which trades at the Horse and Jockey pub in Altofts (Photo by Former electrician turned chef Rob Taylor, of Bridge Town Pie Company and Bridge Town Canteen, which trades at the Horse and Jockey pub in Altofts (Photo by
Former electrician turned chef Rob Taylor, of Bridge Town Pie Company and Bridge Town Canteen, which trades at the Horse and Jockey pub in Altofts (Photo by | James Hardisty/National World

Rob’s cooking career began in 2019 while living in London, when he searched for evening courses to brush up on his knowledge and spotted a diploma at the Leeds School of Food and Wine.

He said: “I went home to my Mrs that night and said ‘I think I’ve got to do this, it’s a dream come true’ - and she told me to go for it. I've always enjoyed cooking, I started cooking with my dad when I was in my late teens.”

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Rob moved back up north to look for opportunities and in November 2022 he struck a partnership with the new managers of the Horse and Jockey, serving burgers and loaded fries from the pub’s kitchen before launching his pie company in August last year.

All Rob’s pies are made from scratch and he’s built up a loyal following of customers, with hundreds of five star reviews on Just Eat.

Rob added: “The pub has gone from strength to strength, not many people are investing in pubs at the moment. They’ve turned it into a sports pub with the food offering. It’s getting really popular and the word is getting around all over. 

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The business scooped two silver awards and one bronze trophy at the British Pie Awards 2024 (Photo by James Hardisty/National World)The business scooped two silver awards and one bronze trophy at the British Pie Awards 2024 (Photo by James Hardisty/National World)
The business scooped two silver awards and one bronze trophy at the British Pie Awards 2024 (Photo by James Hardisty/National World) | James Hardisty/National World

“It’s a good little partnership and it’s all going down really well. I think it’s because we do something different with the pies, different flavours. 

“We make our own pastry and everything from scratch and we use high-welfare meat from Swaledale Foods- it’s all local produce. The quality of ingredients that goes in and a bit of TLC, I think that makes a difference.

“We serve them with pickles and bits to give them a bit of a lift. A lot of researching and experimenting goes into it, playing around with pastries and different fillings.”

The Bridge Town Pie Company serves a ‘Sunday pie dinner’ - a roast with a pie as centrepiece. Fillings include beef shin stout and maple, cider-braised pork, onion and sage and roast cauliflower and broccoli cheese.

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“I love getting feedback from everyone,” Rob said. “When I go out and have a good meal, I know what feeling I get from it - so it’s great to be able to give that to customers and get feedback that they’re loving the food.

“The fact that people travel here and we pack the place out sometimes, it’s quite humbling, really.”

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