‘I am definitely happiest when I am in the kitchen, as baking is all I really want to do‘
Sometimes it takes a little trial, error, and discovery until you find your true passions in life. Nobody understands this better than Adiyatu, Creator of Yatu’s Bakery.
In this week’s interview, she discusses which film & TV personality inspired her to pursue a career with food and how she has used her time during the pandemic to focus and advance her business.
What is your background?
I originally went to university to study film. I didn’t really have an idea of what I wanted to do in life, but I knew that I liked film. A year later I left university because I wanted to do more practical work within film and my course consisted of a lot of reading. However, I soon realised that even though I liked film, I was not passionate enough to make a career out of it.
I watched a film called Julie & Julia which made me think about working in pastry. One of the characters called Julie was going through a crisis of not knowing what to do in her life. I identified with her as I felt she was just like me. During university I was always baking, and so baking was not anything new for me. However, I had not thought about baking as a career until this film and until I had nothing else to do with my time but bake.
While Julie and Julia gave me the push I needed, one person who was also a big influence and hugely inspired me was Lorraine Pascale. Watching her on TV really helped me see the kind of career I could have working with food.
I then started to work in the food industry for experience. I worked in a supermarket and sometimes they let me makes cakes for them. I applied for jobs which gave me any opportunity to work and gain experience in the kitchen. This is basically how I started in the industry. I have always liked to move around for experience and not stay in a place for long and get too comfortable. I like to learn and have worked in different environments from restaurants with Michelin star and 2 Rosettes, to hotels and small batch bakeries and cafes.
How did you start Yatu’s Bakery?
I started the bakery 5-6 years ago, however up until this year I have not fully focused on it. I had been doing it on the side because I wanted to really focus on my main jobs, to ensure I had a good level of skills before working full time for myself. I left my last job at the end of February and wasn’t sure on what I should do. However, the timing of leaving my job and the Covid-19 Pandemic, has now given me more time to focus on the bakery. I took some time out last year from baking for others, but from the beginning of this year I started to slowly redo my website and rebrand. This time during the pandemic has allowed me to push myself and work harder and faster to get the image and business that I want.
What do you sell?
I mainly sell cakes which are custom made. I also have set flavours and designs and I will usually design a cake in a certain way unless someone asks for something specific. I also do tray bakes such as brownies, blondies, and cupcakes and I am now working on producing more desserts like cookies, chocolates, and tarts. I have always wanted to incorporate more desserts into the business and now that I have the time, this will hopefully be on my website very soon.
Where do you find creative inspiration when you bake?
Probably from all the different places I have worked in. Working in restaurants and bakeries has helped to open my eyes to different kinds of flavours, combinations and varieties. Everything I bake always has my past experiences in mind. I put a lot of effort into my work as I like to produce everything homemade and I am also very inspired by French baking and pastry.
What is the most memorable moment for you working in baking?
I’ve had some really good times, however the most memorable time for me would be a time where I was really stressed, but afterwards I was proud of myself on how I coped. I was working in a hotel and it was Valentines day which is always a busy night. We had a banana soufflé on the menu and I received so many cheques for them, that I lost count of how many I made that night. I have had a lot of busy nights but this one really stands out. The other person on shift with me hated service and only wanted to do prep. But I really loved being in a busy service and although it was busy, it was really fun and memorable for me.
What future plans do you have for your business?
I would like to carry on maintaining working for myself and ensuring what I have to offer is the best that it can be. I am currently working on getting sales, branding and being more present online. Before I would just create a post on social media and then leave. What I have gained during this pandemic is being part of a community and have discovered other bakers by being more present on social media. I love being in the kitchen and working with other bakers who feel the same. I do not want to work from home forever and in the future, I would like to open my own café and do events such as supper clubs and afternoon tea.
Do you have any hospitality outlets that you are looking forward to visiting now that hospitality has reopened?
Some places that I miss are Jolene in Hackney and Padella, especially the Padella in London Bridge, as it was one of the last places I went to before the pandemic started. I was helping a friend from the The Snapery Bakery who sells bread and works on a market. I am looking forward to visiting The Snapery Bakery again and trying the new things on the menu. Miel Patisserie is a place I would love to visit one day for some fresh pastries. Lastly, I also want to visit Chuku’s for some Nigerian Tapas.
If you were trapped on a dessert island, what 3 food or drink items would you want with you?
I would definitely bring gin, that’s my favourite and some kind of puff pastry with fresh cream and some fresh fruits.
Tell me something about yourself that not a lot of people know?
One thing people may not know is that I once wanted to move to Paris. When I first started to get into pastry and after I watched Julie and Julia, I thought the only way I could become a pastry chef was to study in France. I desperately wanted to move to France, and I worked three jobs; including working in the Natural History Museum which was fun. I worked round the clock to save money but I never ended up moving to Paris. I have however since then visited Paris many times and I love everything about it.
Complete the sentence. I am happiest when?
I am happiest when I hand a cake to a customer and they like it. I am definitely also happiest when I am in the kitchen, as baking is all I really want to do.
Keep up to date on the latest baking creations from Yatu’s Bakery Instagram page.
Yatu’s Bakery has also recommended a recipe for a Blueberry, Lemon and Lavender Galette. You can find it under the recipe section here.