Mark’s taking the biscuit with new business – Saddleworth Independent

A GREENFIELD decorator is a hand with a paintbrush, but it’s Mark Bedford’s skills that help launch a new career.

In business for less than a year, Mark’s move into Italian biscuits and sweets has already found favor with celebrity chefs.

Hairy Biker Si King, former MasterChef winner Simon Wood and last year’s Great British Bake-Off champion Giuseppe Dell’Anno have all become fans of Mark’s homemade Prendi il Biscotto (Italian for ‘take the biscuit’) range .

Mark at his stall

And they don’t come much more homemade than from the 49-year-old, one-time art school graduate’s kitchen at the family home on Carr Lane.

Such is the growing success of a venture launched at last year’s village Christmas market at the King William IV pub, Mark is considering a complete career change.

Mark with Hairy Biker and King

“This is a passion of mine and I want to try it,” he told the Independent. “We’ve been baking cookies for family, friends and neighbors for years.

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“They all said why didn’t I try to turn this into something more. So I thought I’d try King Bill’s Market.

“When I was exhausted in about 90 minutes, I thought I might be on to something. So I registered the business and set it up separately.

“I’m as busy as ever with painting and decorating, but six months ago I had to cut it back from full-time to three days a week.

“It’s getting to the stage if it continues to develop and grow, I’m going to have to rent some space or rent space with a kitchen.

“If decorating becomes the minimum amount of work, I can hang up the brush and pick up the pastry brush full time.”

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With such positive recent feedback from the likes of King, Wood and Italy’s Dell’Anno sharing thousands of endorsements via social media, Mark’s products are becoming known to a wider audience.

As well as supplying the Saddleworth outlets, he cooks for businesses in Marsden, Slaithwaite, Royton and Prestwich. A bar in the city of Manchester has also expressed an interest in taking future deliveries.

As another sideline, he planned and cooked a three-course Italian meal for 30 diners and took part in a photo shoot for a Tuscan-themed wedding. Mark will also be featured in a new BBC food program which will air next March.

Mark and Simon Wood

“I have no Italian heritage and can only speak a minimal amount of the language,” explained Mark, supported in his venture by wife Jules.

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“But my father was a train driver. And one way my parents could reasonably afford to go every year was to travel to Europe by train because Dad got a discounted fare.

“They loved going to Italy and I have memories from when I was a kid of stopping in different cities.

And we would always buy a biscuit or something to take with us on the next trip.

“I guess what I’m trying to do is recreate authentic cookies and a sweet treat that I remember as a child and as an adult, and have returned many times since.”

Mark’s offerings include Cherry Almond Biscotti, Limoncello Amaretto Infused Biscotti, a Chocolate Espresso Biscotti, and an Orange Almond Star Biscotti.

For more details visit Mark’s website at


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