Baker Who Rose from Hardship Crowned Bread Hero of the USA

The winners of the Bread Heroes campaign by Tiptree World Bread Awards USA supported by the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) were announced on Wednesday November 3, 2021 in a special online awards evening, celebrating the incredible endeavors of the bread community.

The Overall Winner was Manolo Betancur of Manolo’s Bakery in Charlotte, North Carolina. Manolo, who came to the USA 20 years ago with very little money, a handful of clothing and no English, has worked hard to rise from washing dishes to today owning a thriving bakery business.

After arriving from Columbia, Manolo spent his first few months working odd jobs in Miami. He then went on to win a scholarship to study at King University, Tennessee and graduated with a BA in Modern Languages.

A few years later, and with more experience under his belt, Manolo moved to Charlotte, NC, where he became involved in the city’s first Hispanic bakery. In 2011 he bought that bakery, and 7 years later he renamed it Manolo’s Bakery.

Today, the bakery is thriving; it produces over 65 types of artisan breads and a vast variety of cakes and desserts. Manolo’s supplies baked goods to more than 100 stores, restaurants and supermarkets in North Carolina and Virginia.

In normal times, the Tiptree World Bread Awards celebrates the bread; hundreds of loaves would be delivered to Manhattan for assessment by a panel of esteemed judges. Building on the great success of last year, the Awards once again celebrated the USA’s Bread Heroes – the people behind the loaves: from farmers and millers, to bakers and educators.

Nominations for the Bread Heroes came in from across the USA. “All the nominees in this year’s Awards truly deserve recognition for their generous, considerate and often altruistic initiatives to help others,” said Stephen Hallam, Chairman of the Judges.

This year’s illustrious judging panel, chaired by Hallam, included Zachary Golper, Baker and James Beard Foundation Award nominee, Bien Cuit, Dana Cowin, Founder, Speaking Broadly and Maurizio Leo, The Perfect Loaf.

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