We had been running a few months when Wes mentioned to me about a guy called Ben who kept calling round the container wanting to chat sourdough. He was obviously keen on the subject but was understated about his abilities. Similar to us, Ben had a background in tech but also had wanted to try another direction in his life which had led him to quit his stable job and take a course at Ballymaloe in Ireland. This then led him to make the bread at Saltwood On The Green, a highly regarded local restaurant that had an outlet at the Harbour Arm in the 2016 season. Ben decided to try and come and do some shifts based on the premise that we would be upgrading our shipping container to one with windows and insulation in the near future. Ben’s enthusiasm and humour powered us along and allowed us to expand our range and throughput and the croissants he helped develop (never good enough in Ben’s eyes) were immensely popular amongst ourselves and the dedicated customers who made it down to the harbour in all weathers.
Unfortunately it would be two winters later before we would get our new premises and through that time we all (but especially Ben) suffered harsh winds banging the fence door and causing the container doors to smash into kegs, months of drilling and noise as the station was being heavily developed and general malaise of working in the middle of a wasteland. He also had to deal with many floods from the brewing end of the container and working in a tiny space where everything was crammed in with no room to spare. I’m sure we’ll all look back on these early days fondly in the future but even now in our lovely new space those memories are just too fresh to ignore.
To his credit Ben stuck it through thick and thin and his loaves and pastries have kept many retail and wholesale customers very happy over the history of Docker. Whilst still fulfilling these duties he is now training up the new generation of Docker bakers and subjecting them to all manner of unmentionable songs on the company sound system.
Two became three. Now things were getting serious…