Hello and thank you for reading our first Behind the Menu profile! The aim of our Behind the Menu series is to introduce you to the people who work behind the scenes in the food hospitality industry and give you an insight in to what happens Behind the Menu!
This week we talked to the very talented Eimear Reynolds, owner of Bakealicious café and bakery which is located in Old Cornmarket in Navan.
Eimear can you please tell us a bit about yourself and Bakealicous?
We are the only cake and bread bakery in Ireland to make all our products with a combo of spelt flour, Irish butter, free range eggs and Belgium chocolate. Along with our regular cakes and small savoury lunch menu, we also provide a range of gluten, dairy, egg, vegan suitable and refined sugar free cakes, which means everyone can enjoy a slice at Bakealicious.
Over the years as Bakealicious has grown, my role within the business has developed. I have a wonderful team who helped me to nurture this cake baby into what is it today.
While my current role is to oversee the running of our online shop, social media, product development, researching new products, I continue to be involved in the day to day running of the bricks and mortar shop.
We have two other exciting projects under development for 2021.
How did you get started on your career in hospitality?
Baking was always my jam. When I was researching college courses in fifth year, I discovered there is a course that focuses solely on baking.
And so began my career in hospitality. I completed a 3 year degree in Baking and Pastry Arts Management in Dublin Institute of Technology, now the Technical University of Dublin. It gave me the focus that I needed to start my business.
I got some industry experience working in various kitchens and bakeries before taking the plunge and starting Bakealicious in January of 2013.
Do you have a mentor or chef that you would admire or respect?
Over the last 8 years, the landscape of the food world has changed with the help of social media, particularly visual platforms such as Instagram. Inspirational bakers and cooks in Ireland and around the world have become more easily accessible with many sharing advice and insights into their business. It is so easy to find and take inspiration.
I think it is important to have a mentor and I have personally found it beneficial for my business. I am lucky that I have a few mentors with different areas of speciality that I can rely on for advice and be my sounding board.
What is your favourite part of being a chef/manager/owner?
My favourite part of owning my own business is that I get to employ a fantastic team of creative people who are just as enthusiastic about Bakealicious as I am.
As a chef /manager/owner how important is it to you to use local produce in your menu?
For me, it is really important that the Bakealicious menu reflects what produce is in season. We only use Irish butter and free ranged eggs because it is superior quality to the continental equivalent. Aside from the flavour, using local produce is beneficial to the environment as there is a reduced carbon footprint.
What is your favourite Boyne Valley product?
Ariosa coffee! We use it in the shop here, I love their ethos and brand and have found them to be a reliable supplier and a pleasure to work alongside.
Do you bake at home and if you do, what is your go to dish to bake?
At the weekends, I tend to bake more slow-paced, comforting desserts and puddings that you would not usually see on our menu at Bakealicious.
I particularly enjoy a comforting bowl of the Bakealicious take on the classic, bread and butter pudding. I use our leftover cinnamon buns and add Belgian chocolate drops and homemade zesty orange custard.
Delicious after a Sunday roast!
Have you any tips for home bakers who want to improve their cooking?
Always use Irish butter and always add a pinch of salt…it’s surprising how important it is in not only cooking but also baking
What is your favourite item on your menu?
At the moment, it is a hard choice between our rhubarb and custard doughnuts or lemon meringue pie éclairs
Obviously, this has been a horrific year for the hospitality industry but what are you most looking forward to when you are able to reopen fully.
The pandemic made me look at every aspect of my business in detail. I think Bakealicious has changed for the better in terms of how we operate including the new addition of our online shop.
We are incredibly lucky that we can interact with our customers in person on a daily basis as we are still open for a takeaway cake and lunch service. Consciously, we have developed an online pre-order menu to enable us to interact with our customers safely while maintaining our valuable customer relationships.
I do not believe Bakealicious will look like the Bakealicious that we left back in March 2020. We have grown, matured and are only looking forward to the future. At this point in time, we are meditating on what shape our bricks are mortar shop will take when we can fully reopen. However, we are certain that our online shop and ordering facility is here to stay and will be used in the day to day running of Bakealicious.
A huge thank you to Eimear for taking part in this interview and make sure to check our https://www.bakealicious.ie/ where you can get some of her fabulous creations delivered directly to your door!
Stay tuned for our next Behind the Menu coming soon!