The Culham St Gabriel’s Bake-Off


‘How to build team virtually during the Covid-19 pandemic’

I’m passionate about team!! Team is one of the essential ways in which we live out the values of our Trust. So, I wanted to explore how we could build team virtually? As an office team we have had virtual ‘non-work’ coffee mornings as well as business catch ups, we are also using Whats App and Team chat a bit more, but I wanted something a bit different. This was when the Virtual Bake-Off idea was born…. How would our office team and consultants represent the Trust through baking? The results blew me away!!!

The Soda Bread: Kevin connected his ingredients with each member of the team. Here he explains….

The Organic wholewheat flour, full of goodness, which is the basis of everything – this is Deborah.

The extra-virgin olive oil, reputed in Castillo de Locubin to fix any kind of problem – this is Tracey.

The milled omega seeds giving golden sunshine to the texture – this is Kate.

The walnuts contributing dry, deep integrity – this is Dave.

A shot of espresso for a burst of energy this is our social media consultant

12-year-old malt whisky, seasoned, matured, with strong regional associations – this is John, our Chair of Trustees

Bicarbonate of soda – this is me (Kevin!) – just because I couldn’t face comparing anyone else to bicarbonate of soda!

The skilled presentation of the whole product on beautiful plates – this is Kathryn, orchestrating everything and acting as CSTG’s public face.

The Fruit Cake: Tracey’s fruitcake was based on the Trust values. This is what she said about it.

Collaboration – Fruit, works better together. Whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Openness – No hidden ingredients

Stewardship – Low cost simple ingredients transformed into a beautiful cake

Integrity – Traditional recipe, long slow cooking

Empowerment – cranberries added, which are said to be a super food

Service – What is a cake if not for sharing with others?

The Pavlova: Deborah’s pavlova was full of fresh cream and fruit, as the Trust is currently overflowing with fresh and fruitful ideas. The trust brings organisations together in partnership. We’re greater and can do more together than as individual organisations. Likewise, the individual components forming the pavlova are greater together. Each of the components’ initial letters together can spell CSTG (Cream, Strawberries, Tangerines, Grapes) and Religion and Worldviews Education (Raspberries, Whites of Egg). Deborah didn’t want to waste eggs and wanted to ensure the best outcome, so she outsourced for the best skills and expertise – buying the meringue is from Waitrose and getting her family to help  put it together!

The Florentines: I made some Florentines with Kellogg Crunchy Nut cornflakes as our office in Oxford is in Kellogg College. They contain Chocolate, Sultanas, Toblerone and Glace Cherries spelling out CSTG. I used an unusual, colourful and vibrant mix of ingredients – like our amazing team. They were bound together by condensed milk. This product has longevity and is an important ingredient in many different desserts, just like CSTG. Lastly, and more practically I planned in advance to use no flour and eggs as it was possible these may be unavailable!

The Train: Kate made a train as Culham St Gabriel’s is going places. There is space for all sorts of people. We are on a journey together. The wheels are love hearts to show our positive message!

The Fat-Free Cake: Dave decided to create a Fat-Free cake. He says, ‘At the moment this is a Slimming World house – No cake making due to being supportive… If I buy a cake and present it, how does someone learn or personalise it? At CSTG we like to facilitate ways in which people can take their own cake journey – we signpost recipes, encourage sharing, research flavour combinations, explore cultural cake advice and engage in high level cake research which hopefully benefits our core cake audience. However, I did buy a cake or some rocky road bites – I also found a recipe and would encourage people to push the boundaries and personalise it – at RE:ONLINE we would ask bakers to let us know how they got on – could you blog about it? Rocky road – symbolically, it’s a rocky time and we are with you on your own rocky road– encourage people to take a recipe and make it their own – be inspired by and look to inspire others. Jaffa cakes – to show inclusion and to not shy away from controversy – Is it a cake? Is it a biscuit? Let us look at both sides and make a justified decision’. So instead of eating cake, Dave has produced a fantastic cake knowledge organiser with a religion and worldviews twist which you can download here. Of course, this is a bit of fun for you to enjoy over a coffee break, not to be taught in the classroom!

The bitesize snack: Our social media consultant also teaches full time, so she brought a bitesize snack which provided energy and quick nutrition like our social media and RE:ONLINE!

What a great team! No more words…

With huge thanks to:

Deborah Elwine, our Office and Operations Manager

Tracey Francis, our Data and Online Manager

Kevin O’Grady, our Lead Consultant for Research

Kate Christopher, our Lead Consultant for Teach:RE

Dave Rees, our Lead Consultant for RE:ONLINE

Our social media consultant


Kathryn Wright Chief Executive Officer, Culham St Gabriel’s Trust @kathrynfenlodge

See all posts by Dr Kathryn Wright