Monday, 19 May 2014

5 Questions - Heart & Soulfood Ltd

A few weeks ago myself and Nicola made a trip into Glasgow for lunch and drinks, starting off with a cracking set lunch at Arisaig in Glasgow's Merchant Square, before drinking far too much in far too many bars across the city. Our trip also allowed me to catch up with an artisan baker who I had been talking to on Twitter over the previous weeks. Heart & Soulfoods, run by Oban based sourdough baker Vicky Manning who regularly makes the lengthy journey down the A82 in order to sell her wares at the weekly Merchant City Craft & Design Fair.
Vicky's stall was a visual delight with a huge array of breads including a fantastic red wine & chorizo sourdough that we bought with plans for Sunday lunch already in mind. The stall also had a selection of other baked products and I struggled to take my eyes off Vicky's buns (brioche), sweet & savoury pastries, and assorted quiches. We also bought a couple of her marvellous cinnamon & marmalade swirls which were the perfect sugary hangover cure the next morning.

Here's Vicky's story;

How did you get started?

I love experimenting with baking so it was really just a natural progression for me to go from making bread with conventional yeast to using sourdough, which is much more complex and challenging. Besides, I couldn't get fresh yeast in Oban and didn't like using the dried stuff so found making sourdough much more satisfying. After many hours in the kitchen making sourdough and with friends and family trying my doughs I decide to start selling my creations to the public.

What's the best piece of business advice you could give?

The best advice I could give anyone starting up their own business is to try and do as much of the leg work yourself. Try not to rely on others if possible.

Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?

Phew! In 5 years time, I honestly don't know where the business will be. I love what I do but if I ever stop enjoying it, then I won't do it anymore.

If you could only cook one of your recipes/products, what would it be and why?

I would make my smoked & caramelised onion and mushroom sourdough because it's a meal in itself. On top of that, it tastes great too.

You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal - Who would it be and why? ...and what's on the menu?

That's easy, It would have to be John Lennon as one of my other passions is music.

As John was he a fellow Scouser I would cook him a big pan of Scouse as I know his Aunt Mimi would have cooked that for him on a regular basis.

One of my favourite food pleasures is a thick slice of buttered bread and the flavoured sourdough so that Vicky creates takes this pleasure to another level. Make sure to check the Heart & Soulfood website to see when and where Vicky will be selling her baked goodies.

In addition to the bakery side of her business, Vicky also provides vintage tea parties and evening supper clubs in her home town of Oban, offering the locals the chance to 'break bread' with friends or meet new people in a relaxed atmosphere over good food.

Keep up to date with Heart & Soulfood on Facebook and Twitter.



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