Food & Drink
EllesBelles bakehouse is located in Coachworks, Dover Place, Ashford.
We caught up with Eloise, to find out more about her baking passion and her business.
Tell us your story. How long have you been baking? How did you get into it?
I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember, my earliest memories come from standing on a chair in the kitchen dancing to Bob Marley’s “Stir It Up” with my mum, it was sort of our tradition. Growing up I was obsessed with turning cardboard boxes into shops and restaurants.
My love of baking remained a hobby throughout secondary school, it never occurred to me it would be a potential career until one day in sixth form a friend asked if she could pay me to bake for her, it went down extremely well and she came back again, then family friends started asking me sell cake to them and it spiraled from there. I went to an open day at Westminster Kingsway College, just to consider my options, and fell in love with the school and its facilities, next thing I knew I was rushing to apply before the end of year cut off. I managed to secure a place and spent the next 3 years in London studying the Professional Chefs Diploma, I loved learning all aspects of the hospitality industry and in my final year I specialised in pastry, bakery and confectionary.
When did you decide to start your own business?
I always had a feeling I would start my own business at some point, I remember sending off my application to WestKing and telling myself I’d have my own bakery by the age of 21, well, I started selling cakes to friends and family at 16, officially set my business up at 18, became self employed full time at 23, I am now 25 and have opened my bakery and shop front, so not too far off!
What’s the most unusual or particularly memorable cake design you’ve been asked to make?
I haven’t been asked to make anything too unusual but one of the most memorable would have to be a 2 tier pearl cake as I spent 2 hours applying individual pearls to the cake with tweezers.
What is your favourite thing to bake?
I don’t have one particular favourite, however, as we are a flavour focused, fondant free bakery, I would have to say anytime I get to experiment with new flavours and techniques is my favourite. I am currently going through a pastry phase, I am determined to perfect cruffins (the love child of a croissant and a muffin), not only are they a delicious, buttery, flakey pastry, there is so much potential for flavours and fillings its easy to get carried away.
Why did you decide to set up your business in Coachworks?
I had been looking for a premises to set up the bakery in for almost a year, with little success, nothing seemed like the right fit. I knew Coachworks had the perfect vibe for Ellesbelles, it’s the sort of set up and atmosphere you’d have to travel to London for and I do travel to London for this exact thing on a regular basis, so when I found out they wanted to start a creative village within the Hothouse, I jumped at the opportunity and everything fell into place.
What is the best thing about working in Ashford?
I’d have to say the community. We just had our opening day, it was a mix of customers that have been following the business for a while and new faces that had come to visit from word of mouth, lots of people shared that they really wanted to support local and do their part to keep this town alive! I think that is a brilliant outlook to have, especially after the last couple of years, so I feel very lucky that our business has the support of such a strong community.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to open and set up their own business?
I’m sure a lot of people will answer this question by saying “got for it!”, and I agree, to an extent. I’d also say think about it, if all you do is think about it and dream about it and you know in your gut it’s what you really want and you’re prepared to take risks all in the name of achieving your goal then by all means do it! You’ll make mistakes, but make sure you learn from them. You may have to make sacrifices, make sure they’re worth it. You’ll have to give it your all, just make sure you’ve got enough to give and don’t forget about yourself in the process. It can be exhausting but very rewarding and if you’re happy then that’s what really matters. I am lucky enough to have an incredible support system and I really couldn’t have done any of this without them, I owe much of my success to them and for that I will be eternally grateful.