Uncle John’s Bakery was established by Uncle John himself, John Mensah and his wife Emelia Mensah, 20 years ago. The company was birthed as a result of Nana Mary, Uncle John’s mother, passing down the family’s sweet bread secret recipe.
When John and Emelia arrived in the UK in 1982 they missed the sweet aromas of fresh bread that Nana Mary used to bake and longed for warm bread straight out of the oven. They searched tirelessly, but only came across imports that weren’t as good as John’s mother’s recipe. That’s when he decided to bake it himself. He didn’t want other Ghanaians to miss out on the experience, and wanted to help them feel closer to home with his bread.
At the time they couldn’t afford their own bakery and could only afford to use a local bakery at night when it was closed. Emelia’s mum – Mary Fofia Arthur worked in the hotel industry as a caterer and after work would go with Uncle John to the bakery to bake the bread with them at night.
She taught them how to make delicious cakes, pies, pastries and donuts to broaden the menu. They baked all night and in the morning Uncle John drove his van to the local stores delivering fresh bread. He would be so tired from working nights that he’d take a nap and thieves would steal the bread from the van.
His wife encouraged him and told him “Obeyeyie” – life will get better in Fanti (local Ghanaian dialect) and that gave him the strength to carry on.
On the 26th of November 2003, Mary Fofia Arthur sadly passed away. We salute both grandma Marys because without them the business wouldn’t be where it is today. Despite the challenges we’ve faced we are grateful they didn’t give up because the business has now grown to become the number one Ghanaian Sweet Bread company in the UK.
20 years later with larger premises and a wider product range, you can now find Uncle John’s bread and other delicious baked goods all over the UK and in selected Tesco supermarkets. “Obeyeyie” is still the company motto. Life surely did get better and we hope our baked goods will make life just a little better for you too!