Art & Design blog: Food and drink

XETH interviews Bee Berrie of Bee’s Bakery

Artist / designer:   Bee's Bakery

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Article author:   Charlotte Bradford
Published:   Mon, 15 Jun 2015

Edible petal cake - kat hill

Copyright: Kat Hill Photography

London based Bee’s Bakery create bespoke sweet treats for every occasion. Bee Berrie left her career as a microbiologist to become a full time baker in 2012 and has never looked back! Taking a three-month sabbatical to develop her idea she chose to specialise in biscuits and has been voted  one of the Best Biscuit Bakeries in London by the Evening Standard. Clients include Topshop, Vogue, Kurt Geiger, Harrods, BBC and Sky.

Bee is also a regular contributor to www.JamieOliver.com and has appeared as a guest presenter on Youtube and FoodTube presenting collaborative recipes. Recently securing a book publishing deal with Pavilion Books Group, she is currently shooting her first recipe book alongside completing a Leiths Diploma in Food Styling.

At what age did you start to take an interest in the field you work in?

In my mid-20s, whilst working in medical communications – I’m a medical Microbiologist by training, so this is a second career for me! I started out by taking night school classes in baking and decorating cakes, then did a work experience placement at a few different cake designers and then started out on my own. Baby steps though, I was still working the day job until 2012.

Bee 2014

Copyright: Olivia Cole Photography

Do you listen to music when working? If so, what?

Absolutely! We have some brilliant playlists for the kitchen as we tend to spend long long hours in there. Often the work is quite repetitive, for example making 500 mini gingerbread houses for Harrods. I love a bit of classic hip-hop, say the Pharcyde and Missy Elliot but my long time love is indie music so everything from Ben Folds Five through to The Maccabees and The Vaccines.

Name three creatives who have inspired you over the past 10 years?

Peggy Porschen is a Chelsea cake designer and I did my first apprenticeship with her about 6 years ago. A very different area to the type of work I do now but her production unit was where I really got the bug. The Meringue Girls really inspire me in terms of being two young kick ass women carving out their own niche. Ellen Bennett from the LA based apron maker Hedley & Bennett inspires me too. She has an extremely simple but targeted business idea and is really going for it, all guns blazing and I admire that.

Bee baking_1501RC

Copyright: Olivia Cole Photography

Have you got any exciting projects/commissions coming up in the near future?

 I’ve just finished shooting my first recipe book which comes out early in 2016. That’s been a huge dream of mine realised and I’ve loved every single minute of it. It’s a biscuit book, so quite niche (!) and I have recipes in it from classics like a chocolate digestive to a cookie wedding cake, from our brilliant Rubiks cube cookies to home made dog biscuits. It’s a great fun, unique and beautifully shot book and I can’t WAIT to put it out there.

BeesBakery09140181 copy

Photographer: Emily Moya

Who would be your ideal client for a future project?

I would love to work in broadcast and I bake lots for the BBC press offices so perhaps one day you’ll see me on a screen. Perhaps a programme on fusion baking?!

If you weren’t working in this field what other career would you have chosen?

I’m a trained medical microbiologist, so I worked in medical communications for about 6 years before taking a “year out” to give this a try! I always loved the content of that job, so if the bakery ever becomes too hard to handle I’d go straight back to working out how to communicate scientific data to the general public! Having just finished writing my recipe book, I daydream now about writing a short story or novel. I might give that a bash one day…who knows!

BeesBakery09140427 copy

Photographer: Emily Moya

To learn the tricks of the trade, Bee teaches sell out lessons at www.thecakeandbakeshow.co.uk.  If you’d like to try one of her biscuits, please visit Harrods, Jamie Oliver’s Recipease or order them directly from beesbakery.co.uk

XETH interviews baker and cake designer, Lily Vanilli

Artist / designer:   Lily Vanilli

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Article author:   Charlotte Bradford
Published:   Tue, 22 Jan 2013

What is it that drew you to baking?

At first it was flavours & I enjoyed cooking in general, then it was the science and the aesthetic creativity of baking that made me fall in love.

Have you got any exciting projects/commissions coming up in the near future?

I’m working on a few exciting collaborations for 2013 – watch this space!

Please could you tell us a bit about The Lily Vanilli bakery and what delicious treats you’d recommend we try?

The best thing to do is come down early on a Sunday morning & see for yourself. There are some pretty great sausage rolls, soups & coffee as well as dozens of sweet things – and we have new stuff every week.

 

What are your favourite three ingredients to work with?

I cant choose three!

I like using new things and new combinations.

At the moment it would be star anise, fleur de sel and chestnuts (not necessarily together)

 

If you could work for a client you haven’t yet dealt with who would it be and why?

I would love to work with some of my baking heroes, such as Chad & Elizabeth from Tartine, David Lebovitz, Nigel Slater or Dan Lepard.

If you weren’t a baker what other career would you have chosen?

I always wanted to be a writer but was never any good. Perhaps I’d still be trying.

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