May 26 2022. views 189
In this series, we talk to people who turned their passion for food and baking into a business idea amidst lockdown and COVID-19 fears. Some have been in the market for years and others saw the new opportunity and took it! With new challenges presenting themselves in light of the current economic crisis in the country, we talk to home bakers who are navigating through these difficult times and bringing the sweet and savoury to your very own doorstep!
Home baker Stella Martinesz remembers her first order for a sale at church in 1997 – milk toffees and pumpkin toffees. Passionate about making different foods, Martinesz experimented with recipes she learned from her mom and aunt and started to undertake small orders. “I never went to a culinary school or did any cookery courses. All my skills are self-taught. I loved doing finger food and I have always loved spicy food so I started making savoury finger food for orders. I went through new recipes to see if I can try anything new or add additional ingredients to improve my recipes. In 2014, I named my business Hayden’s Spicy Treats after my son Hayden Lucas was born and embarked on my journey in the food catering industry!”.
What do you offer?
My speciality is savoury finger food which suits any occasion, and my customers have always loved and complimented the quality of my savoury finger food. I do items like Pies, Sandwiches, Mini pizza, Egg boats, Quiche, pastry items etc. The signature dishes and my personal favourites are Egg boats, Chicken Pie and Vegetable Sandwiches. Everyone is in absolute love with those!
What is your signature style?
I always try to customise the flavours and the spice preference as per the customer’s requests. That plays a big part. Also, the quality of the ingredients I use, the neatness of how my foods are made and the flavours are what make my short eats stand out from the competition.
What’s it like running your operations during times like these?
The COVID period was really challenging. There was a big drop in orders as events and parties were restricted during the pandemic. Additionally, it was difficult to get supplies due to the sudden curfews. It was a really challenging period to endure because this is the only income I have. Now, the orders keep coming but I have to turn down so many because of the gas supply issue. My spare cylinders are empty and therefore I cannot take a risk of not being able to provide my customers with their orders on time. The challenge then was to keep my business afloat when everything went into lockdown, and the demand decreased due to group gatherings being restricted. Right now, it’s extremely difficult to keep going because of the gas shortage, and the prices of everything including the ingredients going up. I try my best to offer the items on my menu at a reasonable price.
How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
The key is to purchase fresh ingredients and store products hygienically and after preparing to ensure that everything is safely packed and sealed in boxes before delivery to the customers.
What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
The biggest satisfaction about being a baker is getting compliments and feedback from my customers saying how much they enjoyed the food. For me, it’s never about how much profit I make, it’s all about how much people enjoy what I make. That’s what makes me really happy at the end of the day. I choose to be a home baker as I’m a single mom and it’s a job that I can do at home while tending to my son’s needs and other parental responsibilities. But I’m happy because even my 9-year-old son helps me with my orders now. He is more like a quality controller and makes sure that the end product is perfect.
Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?
I would advise anyone who wants to start their own home-based business just one thing - you don’t have to be a professional. Just do what you love and always try to do your best.