DORSET'S star baker, Mark Bennett, has officially joined the upper crust of the bread making business after winning the British Baking Industry's Speciality Bread of the Year.

The managing director of Patisserie Mark Bennett in Poole, won the prestigious accolade after branching out into artisan breads and launching a small chain of shops five years ago.

He was presented with the award by Rugby World Cup winner Matt Dawson who hosted the ceremony, now in in their 29th year, at the Park Lane Hilton in London on Wednesday evening. (SEPT 7)

Mark said afterwards: "It's our third gong in a row and we are absolutely thrilled. I made a Jurassic Sourdough with beer, cheddar and chilli all made in the Purbecks. The loaf is made in the shape of an ammonite fossil."

The British Baking Awards are run by British Baker magazine.

Ellie Woollven, acting editor, said: "The Baking Industry Awards, are as competitive as ever. They recognise and celebrate the crème de la crème of the UK baking industry and are an acknowledgement of excellence in British baking. Congratulations to all our finalists and winners."

Prizes are awarded across 11 categories including Speciality Bread Product, Celebration Cake Business and Bakery Manufacturer of the Year. This year's awards evening had a Moulin Rouge theme.

The recipe for Mark's success, he says, is having a strong team around him and quality products.

Mark won baker of the year in 2014 and now has more than 100 gold medals to his name. He also won both the regional and South of England heats in ITV’s Britain’s Best Bakery in 2012.

Mark who has notched up more than 30 years in the business, is the third generation of bakers.

His parents run the renowned Bennetts’ Family Bakers chain which was first established in 1951.

In January 1986, he became British Champion for Wedding and Birthday Cakes and was chosen to decorate the wedding cake for the Duke and Duchess of York.

In December 2011, along with his wife Emma and their eldest son Jamie, he formed Patisserie Mark Bennett Ltd and opened his first patisserie in Penn Hill followed by the Lilliput patisserie in November 2012 and Ashley Cross earlier this year.