the krazibaker

The Krazibaker’s Rise in Traditional Baking World

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Updated on March 20, 2024

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Baking bread, particularly in the traditional way, is becoming a lost art, but one baker’s surge in the baking world suggests otherwise.

Mark Douglas, famously known as the ‘Krazibaker,’ has not only preserved the craft, but he’s also revolutionized it. He’s carved out a niche by refusing to compromise on traditional methods, and instead, adapting them to the modern market’s demands.

His commitment to quality and authenticity has earned him a dedicated following and prestigious accolades. Yet, what’s next on Krazibaker’s agenda? One can only speculate, and that’s precisely the intrigue that invites further exploration.

The Krazibaker’s Early Baking Apprenticeship


Krazibaker’s journey in the baking world began at the tender age of 16, when he started an apprenticeship in a local bakery, working alongside his uncle for nearly seven years. During this period, he honed his baking techniques, turning raw ingredients into mouthwatering pastries and bread. His uncle’s mentorship opportunities were invaluable, introducing him to the art of kneading, the precise science of baking temperatures, and the creativity of recipe development.

He learned the importance of selecting quality ingredients and the skill of timing. These formative years cultivated in him a deep respect for traditional baking methods. Watching his uncle interact with customers, he also understood the significance of building relationships. This apprenticeship served as the foundation for Krazibaker’s own baking enterprise.

Establishing the Krazibaker Brand

the krazibaker

Drawing from his vast experience and passion for traditional baking methods, he set out to create his own brand, confronting the decline of these techniques head-on by establishing Krazibaker.

The brand identity was carefully crafted around his commitment to authentic recipes and superior ingredients. His marketing strategies were equally thoughtful, focusing on both educating consumers about the value of traditional methods and enticing them with the unique flavors and textures those methods produced.

He didn’t just sell bread; he sold a story, a connection to a heritage that was at risk of being lost. As a result, Krazibaker emerged as more than a bakery; it became a symbol of the fight against the commodification of food culture, resonating with a growing audience that valued authenticity over convenience.

Challenges in Krazibaker’s Initial Years

How did Krazibaker navigate the initial challenges in its early years?

The journey was far from smooth; it required resilience, perseverance, and an unflinching commitment to quality. The biggest struggle was gaining acceptance in a market dominated by mass-produced goods.

Krazibaker was meticulous in ensuring traditional baking methods were upheld, even when it made operations more complex. Despite these struggles, there were early successes.

The authentic taste of Krazibaker’s products won over a niche clientele who appreciated the quality and tradition. The regular customer base became the backbone of the business, providing the much-needed support during the turbulent times.

Overcoming these initial hurdles paved the way for Krazibaker’s steady rise in the traditional baking world.

Business Expansion

Having navigated the initial hurdles, the next phase of growth for the bakery was focused on expansion, which involved reaching out to more customers and diversifying the market reach. Krazibaker’s expansion strategies were rooted in comprehensive market analysis, identifying potential areas for growth while maintaining its brand differentiation.

The bakery worked tirelessly to engage customers in unique ways, fostering a sense of community around their love for traditional baked goods. This customer engagement was a critical component of their expansion, driving word-of-mouth advertising and increasing their audience reach.

The expansion wasn’t without its challenges, however, Krazibaker was able to use this phase as an opportunity to refine its business model, streamlining operations, and further solidifying its place in the traditional baking world.

Krazibaker’s Market Adaptation Strategies

Navigating the turbulent waters of the baking industry, Krazibaker deftly adapted its market strategies based on customer feedback and evolving market trends. They’ve shown an ability to perform comprehensive market analysis, identifying key trends and shaping their operations accordingly.

One of their most successful strategies is competitive pricing. Keenly aware of the importance of value, they’ve positioned their products to offer high quality at prices that appeal to a broad range of consumers.

Krazibaker also innovates in response to market feedback, demonstrating an agility that’s vital in today’s rapidly changing baking landscape. This adaptability, coupled with a commitment to traditional baking methods, has enabled Krazibaker to carve out a unique position in the market and fuel its ongoing growth.

The Role of Customer Base in Success

the krazibaker

While market adaptation strategies have played a key role in Krazibaker’s success, it’s the loyal customer base that truly fuels the company’s growth. Customer loyalty and retention are paramount for Krazibaker’s ongoing success. They’ve built a solid foundation of trust and satisfaction, resulting in a high customer retention rate.

Their marketing strategies cater to engaging and nurturing this existing customer base, while also reaching out to potential new customers. Regular interaction, personalized services, and offering high-quality products have all contributed to strengthening their rapport with customers.

Krazibaker’s focus on customer engagement has created a community around their brand, which not only ensures repeat business but also introduces new patrons through positive word-of-mouth referrals.

Krazibaker’s Award Wins and Reputation

the krazibaker

Krazibaker’s reputation in the baking industry skyrocketed after winning prestigious awards like the Great Taste Awards, solidifying their standing as a top-quality bakery. These award-winning techniques weren’t just a testament to their baking excellence, but also a driving force behind their reputation growth.

Industry recognition, in turn, reinforced their status as a leading bakery, attracting a larger customer base and further boosting their reputation. This cyclical process of reputation growth and industry recognition allowed Krazibaker to establish a solid foothold in the traditional baking world.

Their relentless pursuit of baking excellence was rewarded not only in accolades but also in the trust and loyalty of their customers, cementing their place in the industry. Their story is a testament to how quality and dedication can lead to success.

Focus on Local Ingredients

the krazibaker

Aside from their award-winning techniques, one of the cornerstones of Krazibaker’s baking success lies in their commitment to sourcing local and organic ingredients. This dedication to local sourcing not only enhances the quality and authenticity of their baked goods, but also fosters community connections.

By supporting local farmers and suppliers, Krazibaker plays a crucial role in sustaining a local ecosystem. This approach isn’t merely good business sense; it’s a conscious choice that reflects Krazibaker’s values. Their business model, therefore, isn’t just about baking; it’s about nourishing a community, preserving tradition, and promoting sustainability.

Therefore, Krazibaker’s success is intertwined with their focus on local ingredients, a strategy that has undoubtedly contributed to their rise in the traditional baking world.

Impact of Tourism on Krazibaker’s Business

Diving into the realm of tourism has significantly propelled Krazibaker’s business, exposing them to a wider audience and boosting their market presence. The tourism impact has undeniably enhanced the business growth, allowing an influx of new customers from diverse backgrounds.

Participating in events such as the Year of Food and Drink, coupled with effective media coverage, has increased their visibility exponentially. This strategy not only amplifies their sales but also fosters a broader appreciation for traditional baking methods.

Furthermore, by sourcing local ingredients, Krazibaker supports regional businesses, indirectly promoting tourism within the area. This symbiotic relationship benefits all parties involved, creating a sustainable ecosystem that stimulates the local economy while preserving the authenticity of Krazibaker’s products.

Krazibaker’s Sustainable Practices

In their commitment to sustainability, Krazibaker’s has implemented practices that elevate their baking standards while contributing positively to the local community and environment.

The heart of their approach lies in sustainable sourcing. They’ve built relationships with local farmers, ensuring a constant supply of fresh, organic ingredients. This not only guarantees quality but also supports the local agricultural industry.

Krazibaker’s is also a pioneer in eco-friendly packaging, moving away from non-biodegradable materials. These packages represent their brand’s ethos as they’re both practical and environmentally responsible. By doing so, they’ve managed to integrate sustainability into their business model, setting a commendable standard in the baking industry.

Their practices demonstrate the power of aligning business growth with ecological responsibility.

The Future of the Baking Industry

the krazibaker

Looking towards the future, Krazibaker’s recognizes that the baking industry faces significant challenges, particularly in the areas of skills shortage and sustainability. Technology integration offers a promising solution, improving efficiency and reducing waste. Advanced equipment and software can streamline tasks, allowing bakers to focus more on their craft.

Industry trends, however, are more volatile. The rise of artisanal baking and the growing consumer demand for healthier, organic options are driving significant changes. The industry must adapt, nurturing skills and promoting sustainable practices. Simultaneously, a balance must be struck, ensuring that the embrace of modern techniques doesn’t overshadow the traditions that make baking such a cherished craft.

The future of the baking industry hangs in this delicate balance.

Krazibaker’s Response to Industry Challenges

Facing the challenges of the baking industry head-on, Krazibaker’s has been innovative and proactive in its response. Amid shifting market trends, they’ve harnessed industry innovation, developing new baking techniques while preserving their traditional ethos.

Their commitment to sustainable practices extends beyond environmental consciousness. It strategically positions them for future growth, fostering an agile business model that can adapt to industry upheavals. They source locally, supporting regional producers and contributing to a vibrant, sustainable ecosystem. This approach not only bolsters their brand’s authenticity but also resonates with consumers’ increasing demand for environmentally responsible products.

Thus, Krazibaker’s response to industry challenges highlights a potent blend of tradition and innovation, sustainability and growth. It’s a testament to their resilience and a beacon for their future trajectory.

The Importance of Apprenticeships in Baking

There’s no denying the critical role that apprenticeships play in the baking industry, particularly for businesses like Krazibaker’s. These programs form the backbone of baking education, providing hands-on training and facilitating skill development. Apprentices learn the craft from seasoned bakers, acquiring techniques that can’t be taught in textbooks. They’re exposed to real-world scenarios, learning to adapt and innovate.

Furthermore, apprenticeships are breeding grounds for creativity and innovation, nurturing the next generation of baking entrepreneurs. For Krazibaker’s, investment in these programs isn’t just about workforce development; it’s about preserving the art of traditional baking. Therefore, the importance of apprenticeships can’t be overstated – they’re the lifeblood of the baking industry, driving its growth and evolution.

Krazibaker’s Baking Classes

Bridging the generation gap and preserving dwindling baking skills, Krazibaker has rolled out baking classes designed to impart traditional techniques and foster creativity in the kitchen. These baking workshops aren’t just about culinary education, they’re about rekindling an appreciation for time-honored methods that seem to be fading away.

Krazibaker’s classes offer a hands-on experience, allowing students to knead, roll, and shape their own creations under expert guidance. These classes don’t just cater to professionals, but also to home bakers and even children, emphasizing that baking is a universal skill, one that can be mastered with practice and patience.

Krazibaker’s focus on maintaining tradition while encouraging innovation is a testament to their commitment to the art of baking.

Future Plans for Krazibaker’s Expansion

Building on the success of their baking classes, Krazibaker is gearing up to broaden its horizons with ambitious plans for expansion.

The firm’s strategy includes global expansion, a bolstered online presence, product innovation, and enhanced customer engagement. They’re setting their sights on worldwide markets, aiming to bring their unique brand of traditional baking to a global audience.

The digital realm is also a key target, as they plan to elevate their online presence to reach more customers and strengthen their brand. A commitment to product innovation sits at the core of their strategy, with plans to introduce fresh, exciting offerings to their loyal customer base.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Krazibaker Balance Traditional Baking Methods With Modern Technology in His Operations?

Krazibaker seamlessly integrates technology into his time-honored baking methods. He’s not resistant to baking innovations, rather, he embraces them. He skillfully balances the use of modern equipment for efficiency while preserving the art of traditional baking.

This fusion not only enhances his productivity but also maintains the authenticity of his products. Thus, Krazibaker’s approach exemplifies the perfect blend of tradition and technology in the baking world.

Has Krazibaker Ever Considered Franchising Their Business to Reach a Wider Market?

Krazibaker’s is considering franchising as a potential business venture. This decision is complex due to various challenges associated with franchising. One of these challenges is the need to maintain product quality and consistency, which are essential for preserving the brand’s reputation. Additionally, Krazibaker’s traditional baking methods are a key aspect of their identity, and ensuring these methods are replicated accurately across franchises may prove to be difficult.

Despite these challenges, franchising presents a valuable opportunity for significant market expansion. Krazibaker’s is currently evaluating all these factors meticulously to determine if franchising is in line with their core values and long-term business objectives.

This thorough analysis is essential to ensure that any decision regarding franchising aligns with the company’s vision and strategic direction.

How Does Krazibaker Maintain Consistency in the Quality of Their Products, Especially When Using Organic and Local Ingredients Which May Vary in Quality?

Krazibaker maintains consistency in their products’ quality through meticulous ingredient sourcing and rigorous quality control. They’re particular about using local, organic ingredients, ensuring they’re top-notch.

If there’s a variation in quality, they adapt their recipes accordingly. They’ve built strong relationships with local farmers and suppliers, allowing them to source the best ingredients.

It’s a blend of old-world techniques and modern quality assurance that keeps Krazibaker’s products consistently excellent.

What Measures Has Krazibaker Undertaken to Ensure the Sustainability of His Business in the Face of the Ongoing Skills Shortage in the Baking Industry?

In response to the industry’s skills shortage, Krazibaker’s actively nurtures talent through apprenticeships, passing on time-honored baking techniques. Additionally, they’re focusing on sustainability initiatives, sourcing locally and supporting regional farmers. This not only ensures quality ingredients but also bolsters the local economy.

Therefore, Krazibaker’s isn’t just maintaining tradition but also proactively shaping the future of baking. Their strategy is dual-pronged, addressing both the skill gap and sustainability.

Has Krazibaker Considered Offering Online Baking Classes to Reach a Global Audience and Pass on Traditional Baking Skills?

He’s definitely considered it. Krazibaker’s looking into hosting a ‘Global Bake Off’ through online classes. It’s a great way to share his expertise and keep traditional baking alive worldwide.

Plus, he plans to encourage ‘Online Recipe Sharing’ among his students. It’s not just about teaching, but also creating a global community of traditional bakers.

It’s a smart move, adapting to modern tech while preserving age-old skills.


Mark Douglas, the ‘Krazibaker’, hasn’t only carved a niche in the traditional baking world but has also become an emblem of resilience and innovation. His commitment to local, organic ingredients and sustainable practices has earned him accolades and a loyal customer base.

As he plans for future expansion and online growth, he continues to nurture his community through popular baking classes, demonstrating the power of passion and perseverance in the ever-evolving baking industry.

Video Transcript

Speaker 2 (00:03)
My name’s Mark Douglas. I trade as the Crazy Baker Limited.

Speaker 1 (00:10)
So welcome to Amazing Food and Drink. Today, we’re with Mark Douglas, the Crazy Baker Limited. And Mark is going to tell us his journey in the baking industry and a wee bit about his background. So firstly, Mark, welcome along to the Amazing Food and Drink. Thank you for having me. Good man. And I want you to tell us a wee bit about yourself, your background, and your company.

Speaker 2 (00:28)
Well, I 52 and three quarters.

Speaker 1 (00:32)
You’re looking well for it, Mark. That’s baking is working well, I’ll tell you.

Speaker 2 (00:35)
It’s the L’Oréal. I’ve been baking from the age of 16. Left school with really not much opportunity. So at that particular time, I had an uncle who was involved in a bakery. So I was shovelled out the door one September morning, up to Mora, and that started my apprenticeship as it was then, and you had to serve five years. So that was my pathway to the baking trade.

Speaker 1 (00:59)
Brilliant. And did you work for that company for a long time?

Speaker 2 (01:03)
Worked for, as he is and still is, Uncle Andy. Very good. Like a TV programme. Absolutely. So worked with Andy for six, seven years, and then moved on to various bakeries within, mostly around Lisbon at the time. So that helps you to wain your skill and various recipes and mixes.

Speaker 1 (01:24)
Brilliant. So what inspired you to start your own, I’d say, baking company?

Speaker 2 (01:28)
That’s a good question. What inspired me to be what I do now, which is baking on site, and that entails bringing two gas hot plates. They’re from the 1950s. Of that era, they can be quite portable because the cast iron tap lift so often. So what brought me to do that was within the baking industry, they had the influx, if you like, of the premix. Certainly within that idea, you’ve certainly seen the scale being diminished, and certainly all the things that you were taught from the age of 16 that all of a sudden weren’t being used anymore. So I used to take city breaks around Europe, around springtime all the time. I remember standing in the Grand Market Hall in Budapest, and it was minus 10. Oh, my God. And this fantastic marketplace. It’s one of the places if you ever be in Budapest, you have to go to. It’s like three floors on it. Looking around thinking, there’s everything under the sun. There was fish swimming in the tank and the works. And I thought to myself, there’s everything in a marketplace, bar somebody making bread. I thought, well, there’s a wee bit of a food for thought, if you like.

Speaker 1 (02:36)
Pardon the pun?

Speaker 2 (02:36)
Absolutely. So back home in the bakery, and the first thing I had to do that morning was I left the half plate and it was like, presto, there it is. It’s about the only bread you could probably make on site. In terms of the time it takes from doing it up to baking it, you can probably turn it around in 15, 20 minutes. Brilliant. If you’re efficient in that particular scale. So it went about that thought and probably held that thought for two years in the good Nord and Iron Fous and didn’t do much about it. But that was the thought was set, the intention was set, and that’s- That was your inspiration? That was the inspiration.

Speaker 1 (03:12)
So a bit of pace. Very good. A bit of pace, yeah. Tell me, now that you’re actually doing it, what’s it like running your vehicle on a day-to-day basis?

Speaker 2 (03:21)
It’s only me. It’s only small, but it’s seven days a week. You never switch off.

Speaker 1 (03:26)
See, that’s the thing. Some people talk about run their own business for the freedom.

Speaker 2 (03:30)
You’re actually worse off than you would have been working for a vehicle. Yeah, I’m never away from. I know I’m here doing this today and it worked well because I had to go down to the floor to lift floor. So I was like, well, it’ll work today. Just down the road from it. Three words in the one stone. So I’ll get some floor. Yeah, so it’s intense. It’s outside work. It’s a challenge with the elements, especially over the winter. But it’s rewarding as well because you’re choosing to do something that you want to do. You know what I mean? So it has its own rewards.

Speaker 1 (03:58)
And your own boss.

Speaker 2 (04:00)
Your own boss. That’s probably the worst thing of the whole lot because depending on what attitude you have, you’re very self-motivate and quite particular in what you do then. You’re quite critical of yourself. Of yourself, yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (04:11)
So what is then on that basis? What’s your biggest struggle?

Speaker 2 (04:14)
The biggest struggle, probably not so much now, but at the start, going back to the beginning, the biggest struggle was, where can you do it? I played this in George’s market. I done it many times, and the answer was no.

Speaker 1 (04:31)
And then- Why was that?

Speaker 2 (04:34)
Don’t know. Don’t know.

Speaker 1 (04:35)
Was there already bakers in there?

Speaker 2 (04:37)
No, it wasn’t. I was actually told at the time, in no uncertain words, I had no need for the like that. So I thought myself, well, And that then was the biggest struggle I had. I wrote off the shows, got no answer. I think maybe people thought you weren’t wise and head, certainly within the baking trade at the time. Obviously, I was still employed at the time. I said I had this idea and they laughed at me.

Speaker 1 (05:00)
It’s a George’s market. Are you listening?

Speaker 2 (05:02)
But I thought, you know what? I am going to try this, and there’s not one person in this Earth is going to stop me. Good man. I had to find out. You just had this burning desire. I’m going to try this no matter what. So at that particular time, I was practising yoga in Dibbast Street. Very good. In Conway Mill. My sister had a Beckham yoga studio. So at that time they were starting a small market, and I thought, well, I can’t get anywhere. A small market starting was a Saturday morning. I thought, go for it. I have to. You can talk and talk about, I want to do this. I want to bake on site. But when the opportunity comes up, no matter where it is, you’ve got to try. So I had a small three-food hot plate up to a portable gas cylinder. So it was a small market. I didn’t see a massive crowd, but it led me to believe from the crowd that was there, there was distance in it. There was something in it. So done it for three months. And then I to all the classy places. So somebody says to me after that, The next place you need to go to is the Carboots Hill on the Crumlin Road.

Speaker 1 (06:07)
I’ve been there.

Speaker 2 (06:09)
So that was the next step. So then, just by chance, I came across a guy and he says to me, I have an old four-foot hot plate. The one I was using was three-foot. He says it needs work, but you’re welcome to come and get it. Went and got it. Took it to a gas commercial gas fitter in Uri. So they gas-saved it. And then had register with the council, get a gas safe certificate, your hygiene certificate, all that. So then the next thing became… So that meant I had seven feet of hot plate. I had the four-foot one was just been fixed. I had the three-foot one. That gave me seven foot. So the next thing was, you’re outside, I’ve got no shelter. So you think, well, what do you do? My mate says to me, he’s a bit of a handyman type of thing, Jack of all trades, Connor, you call him. He says, I’ll build you a market stall.

Speaker 1 (06:57)
So I went and bought- So like a gazebo That’s the type thing?

Speaker 2 (07:00)
No, it wasn’t there. That should have been the simple answer. You think when you get in your late 40s, you should know them things. But he says to me, we’ll go and get a load of box section steel and we’ll build a market stall. So that’s what did. I went out to the steel company and built a twelve-foot market stall. Very good. One of them tarpallons three over to where we went.

Speaker 1 (07:19)
And how did you transport that then?

Speaker 2 (07:21)
How did you move? I had a bad van then.

Speaker 1 (07:23)
He’s causing you money here.

Speaker 2 (07:25)
The bad van. So that was the chance. It was left, then And left the Conway Mill. So I thought, well, I can’t do… I’m already working six days a week. Can’t do two. I thought, well, it’s a Sunday morning at the boot sale. Give it a go. So turned up. And from the minute we let the half plate and turned the first sodas, gone.

Speaker 1 (07:44)
They were Flab off the shelves.

Speaker 2 (07:46)
Couldn’t keep up with it. Seriously? Honestly, yeah. So that went on for a number of months. And then there was this guy, shouted at me out of the blue, as I know, we call him John, and he was from Warring Point. He said, Hey, boy, I haven’t got one of them four-foot hop plates? Would you like it? And I thought, my God, are you joking me? So I went up to see John and Mahr in Warring Point, and it was tied up to a gas cylinder in a cold shade with 14 lawnmores decked to the roof. So I bought the half plate off John. A bit of work to get him. Yeah. Got it gas saved up like the last one. And then I’d give me eight food a half plate and I still have them to this day.

Speaker 1 (08:23)
And you’re still using them?

Speaker 2 (08:24)
They’re still going? Same thing, still going. Hope he’s getting free sodas, is he? He was, yeah.

Speaker 1 (08:29)
So tell me, you’re talking about your struggles there. What’s the best bit?

Speaker 2 (08:34)
The best bit is getting that response from the customer base where they want to come and buy off you every week. You can have all the awards in the world, but if you don’t have a regular customer base who want to come and buy off you, that has to be the rewards because that has to be your living.

Speaker 1 (08:48)
So without that, there is no- Seeing people come on back is brilliant. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (08:52)
And you can’t… There would be no crazy baker. That’s what feeds me, and that’s my job, and that’s what I do. So that’s the best reward.

Speaker 1 (09:01)
The returning customers is- Return customer, it has to be for any business.

Speaker 2 (09:04)
If you’re no returning customer, you have nothing.

Speaker 1 (09:06)
Yeah, absolutely. And you’ve actually led me on to my next question there really well. Awards, you’ve won a few.

Speaker 2 (09:12)
Yeah, I won four Great Taste Awards from 2014 and then consecutive years after. Didn’t enter last year. I was just running off my feet and just didn’t have the time to do it.

Speaker 1 (09:23)
That’s actually good. Too busy is a good complaint.

Speaker 2 (09:25)
Yeah, indeed. So leading off the carboot sale, I always had this one And thought, I used to work in June’s Cake Shop, which was on the Lisbon Road.

Speaker 1 (09:34)

Speaker 2 (09:35)
And I used to think, Why don’t they have a stand at Balmoral show? So the burning desire was already set there from that previous job. I would like to bake at Balmoral show on site.

Speaker 1 (09:46)
Is this when it was at Balmoral?

Speaker 2 (09:48)
No, it had just moved.. I think it was 2014. So I contacted Food NI. I’ve done a Google search, Balmoral show. Baked at Balmoral show. And up came food in, and I thought, Okay, then boys, a bell, see you at the crack is. So emailed him, got a response back, met up with who I now know to be Michelle Sherlow, told her what I was doing. I like to bake a Walmart show, and baked a Walmart show May 14, and that was the first one, and I baked every year at it since. And how did it go for you? Flat out. Let the hot plate, it was just incredible. If you didn’t believe it. I was still doing a full-time job at this time, I had to get the days off work, which wasn’t easy. Oh my God. So yeah, flat out. And then moving on from that, still doing two jobs, doing shows, starting to get into shows like agricultural shows, like Castlewell, Clogger Valley, so on and so forth. So still doing two shows, and seeing the end of that year, I was thinking, I’m exhausted. I am wrecked. But still, back to the biggest struggle was getting a regular spot.

Speaker 2 (10:52)
So just out of the blue on the radio one day, I heard Fultown Market. I thought, What’s the score of that? So back to the vehicle, Google, went home and googled it. On Fultown Market, we’re proposing to launch a market in Bank Square. I think that was in the town.

Speaker 1 (11:10)
In the town?

Speaker 2 (11:11)
In the town, I think that was 2016. So long story short, Got a regular spot at the launch and I thought to myself, Well, this is it. I was almost at the point of quitting. I was exhausted. There was nowhere to do it permanent. I thought, Can’t keep this up. So I thought, You know what? That’s it. How am I noticing? Got a regular pitch at Fulton. And it wasn’t a second thought. I thought, I’m going for it. End of story.

Speaker 1 (11:33)
Good Lord. You’re a true entrepreneur.

Speaker 2 (11:35)
Going to be a market trader. So this time I bought a pop-up gazebo. You put it up in two minutes. So yeah, started at Fultown. I think Fultown was launched about April time. So yeah, that was me full-time every Thursday in Bank Square, along with the summer shows. That once you were out there in that playing field full-time, you then- Get the hair of other ones. Yeah, exactly. And it’s freed up all the time. Then And you weren’t restricted to your six-day-a-week job. You’re able to do other things and get the other shows which created a living from. Brilliant.

Speaker 1 (12:07)
That’s really brilliant. So what’s the secret to running a five-star bakery?

Speaker 2 (12:12)
A five-star bakery. I don’t know about a five-star. Oh, you have loads of awards. As it’s come known as the Big Blue Tent. But within that Big Blue Tent, it takes a lot of skill to do what you’re doing. You just can’t say, Oh, he bakes in a tent. But it’s all the preparation. It takes the thought process to get you there, what you’re going to need. You’re bringing basically the beaten heart of a home bakery in the back of a van, getting the market, getting on site, setting it up in a safe way. They’ll be able to project that and bake everything and serve it straight off the hop plate.

Speaker 1 (12:42)
It takes a bit of skill.

Speaker 2 (12:45)
Takes a bit of skill, a bit of thought process. And it’s not the first time you go and you turn up at the market and think, Oh, I forgot my mixing bowl. Yeah, it takes…

Speaker 1 (12:53)
Good, Monty. You’ve plenty to do before you get there, I’m sure.

Speaker 2 (12:56)
Yeah, it’s a day’s work before you get to the market. You think you go to the market, say, a Newton Ard, just my regular pitch in Conway Square on a Saturday morning. So I bake stuff the day before, like sardoos and so on. So it’s a full day in preparation before I get there. And we’re on site in Newton Ard from quarter past four on a Saturday morning.

Speaker 1 (13:13)
Oh, early start. And what time is it finish?

Speaker 2 (13:16)
Market. Time you get set up, get the hot plate split. The first sodas hit the hot plate probably just before 6:00 AM. Market runs on till about 3:00, half three. So time you pack up and go. It’s a long day. Yeah, and time you get home and Collapse going to be seven.

Speaker 1 (13:31)
You’ll be ready for your bed. Collapse time.

Speaker 2 (13:33)
Tell me, Mark, is provenance, sustainability, organic produce, is that important to you in your business? Provenance certainly is because everything I use within Everything that’s possible to buy within the region, you buy it. Buttermilk is Ballyrishian. It’s distributed by Drain’s Farm in Lisburn. That’s where that comes from. It’s very local to where you are then. Absolutely. So all the flour is from Andre’s Mills. I was just start picking a load up, as I say. So it’s all milled here in Belfast. Very good. Cheese is Dramona. The butter is local. So yeah, anything that I can get local, you’d have to say 99% of the ingredients I use are all local.

Speaker 1 (14:15)
Magic. And obviously, you’re supporting other businesses the way people are supporting yourself. Of course.

Speaker 2 (14:18)
Well, that’s what it’s all about. That’s the problem this is about. It’s not just you buying yourself, but then it’s passing on, Can you sell me something?

Speaker 1 (14:26)
That’s what a sustainability element is doing, too. Brilliant. Tell me, has Tourism had an impact on your business, Mark.

Speaker 2 (14:32)
Tourism, you would have to say, yes. If you take, for example, the year of Food and Drink, which was 2016, I was asked by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to go to London in Soho. They were doing their media launch in the Institute of Good Housekeeping, which is in Soho. So I was asked along with, I think, Neil McKenna was there, Derry Cray. There’s a couple of others there as well. So I was doing the bread demonstration to all media and food bloggers from the London area. Okay. So that puts you out there on awareness, saying people have a notion who you are. So that was a brand And I did a demonstration for that. In 2016, in the year of Food and Drink, Fulian and I had sent up countless journalists from around the world, as far away as New Zealand, Malaysia. Chef Juan came from Malaysia, and I did a food demonstration for him in terms of soda bread, material, all very traditional stuff. So yes, in terms of tourism, in terms of the media and the awareness that it created of me, yeah, you have to say yes. How much trade then came after that on a local basis is always hard to measure.

Speaker 1 (15:47)
The legacy is more difficult to measure.

Speaker 2 (15:48)
Yeah, exactly. It’s hard to measure that. Okay.

Speaker 1 (15:50)
But you did create a good bit of awareness there, obviously.

Speaker 2 (15:52)
Absolutely, yeah. At times, that can be quite priceless, in a sense.

Speaker 1 (15:56)
Brilliant. What’s the future for baking here in Ireland?

Speaker 2 (16:01)
That’s a long- Big question. Big question could be a very long, drawn-out debate, depending on who would be in it. I think at the minute, it’s all about, I would say it as a skills factor. I don’t think it’s going to be something that’s… If you take the premix culture, that’s creating a lack of skill. It’s creating a lack of apprenticeship. It’s creating a lack of, you probably want to say sustainability. In terms of the home bakery. Because if you don’t have the mum power, how are you going to keep the bakeries going? When that current staff gets their own age, they’re not doing it no more. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (16:40)
So it’s yourself a bit more than Chiggy. Exactly. So artisan producers, do you Will you see the end of them?

Speaker 2 (16:47)
Will you see the end of them?

Speaker 1 (16:49)
Hopefully not, by the way.

Speaker 2 (16:52)
That is a good question. I think time is going to tell that. But for me, it’s back to the scale again. If you don’t pass on the scale, then you will see the end of anything, whether that be the chef in world, a joiner or a plumber or a tailor, anything that has a hand skill or a scale that’s needed to be passed on to the next generation. That’s where for me, that’s where the thought came from for me starting baking classes. If you don’t pass… I have this phrase, learn it, pass it on, keep the tradition alive. It’s all about transferring that knowledge. If you don’t transfer that knowledge in baking or in chefing or whatever scale, it then will die.

Speaker 1 (17:31)
And that leads me to my next question. Just imagine there, have you any plans? What’s your future plans for the crazy baking company?

Speaker 2 (17:39)
The future plans on the current dry are and is baking classes. So the reason for that is when you’re at a marketplace, you hear everything first-hand over the counter, whether it’s good or bad. There’s nothing held back. It just must be because you’re on the street. It’s different in the shop scenario. People are a wee bit more reserved. At the marketplace, they just shoot you straight from the hip. You hear all the stories.

Speaker 1 (18:04)
No holds bar.

Speaker 2 (18:04)
No holds bar. So you hear about tales of my granny used to make that. That reminds me. That smell reminds me about my granny. Nostalgia. Yeah, it’s all that nostalgia. But then when you build that picture up, it’s all about it reminds me of. So in a sense, nobody was doing it no more at home. So you had seen that generation gap, say, for my mother. We were brought up on it. My mother baked three days away.

Speaker 1 (18:29)
Home baking, same here.

Speaker 2 (18:30)
Home baking, yeah. So if you take… Obviously, it’s my trade, but if you take that generation where we have become the two-part working family. So with my wife bake, with her friends bake, no. So you have that huge vacuum. So if you take that vacuum, are they going to pass it on to their children? And the answer is no. So there you have that vacuum and that skill that has just been lost. Disappeared. Yeah. So that gave me the thought, well, be ashamed to see that all lost at home because there’s so many memories and nostalgia built into that. So I thought, well, I’m going to start baking classes. Brilliant. So I’ve started them. Had a bit of an interruption due to circumstances. So this year, renewed bigger. And at the minute, I’m booked out until September.

Speaker 1 (19:14)
Brilliant. So there’s definitely an interest there.

Speaker 2 (19:16)
There’s an interest there, yes. But then feeding off that interest, what you hear over the counter. But with that as well, because I’m doing it out in front of people, I bring the buttermilk, I bring the flour, I mix everything away. They’ve cut it, they pin it, they roll it on the hot plate. Then they can relate to what I’m doing. When I go to advertise a baking class, they go, There’s your mum who does the market. Have you seen him at the Walmart show? Very good, yeah. So it’s that instant recognition. So, yeah, there’s an interest there. And for me, it’s about passing that. If you take a class of six, if you only pass that skill on to one person who wants to do it at home, that’s a success. They’re going to pass it on to somebody else. Certainly, it’s also about building your business as well. But for me, it’s about the heritage of the skill. Like I was taught. It’s not just about the business. No, it’s not just about keeping the skill alive.

Speaker 1 (20:07)
And we had talked earlier about maybe scaling that, bringing it to the masses.

Speaker 2 (20:13)
Yeah, bringing it to the masses. This is where you bring in people like yourself. My son, who’s 20, has said to me, you could do online classes. And I’m thinking,. But then that’s- It’s the future. You’re so right. But this This is where when you’re of a generation, you’re not that digitally minded. You then got to listen to people.

Speaker 1 (20:36)
Who are.

Speaker 2 (20:37)
And your son’s probably. Exactly. And that’s the generation. They’re more wired into it. So you got to say, well, you know what? If that’s what it’s going to be, then we’ll give it a go.

Speaker 1 (20:45)
What’s that space?

Speaker 2 (20:47)
So with that, on my Facebook page, he had done a couple of short videos leading up to the making of shortcrust pastry. Then went on to peeling and stewing the apples off or my brownies. Then we had the finished item and baking it. So it was a build up to the one item that was being made. And apple tart may be quite simple. May be quite simple to a baker baking it at home. But to someone who has never done that before. You’ve got to put yourself- Like a whole new world. Yeah, so you’ve got to put yourself in that position. You’re showing this to somebody who has never done anything like this before. So it’s about passing that on and making that awareness.

Speaker 1 (21:26)
You’re doing my job for me because I was going to say, Where can we find you? You mentioned Facebook. I’ll put all the links underneath the video. Tell me where we can find you, Mark.

Speaker 2 (21:33)
I’m on Twitter at crazybaker, K-R-A-Z-L-I. Good man. I’m on Instagram at crazybakerna, and I’m on Facebook as crazybaker.

Speaker 1 (21:45)
And have you got a website?

Speaker 2 (21:47)
I have a website. I’m going to have to admit that I’m not really keeping it up to date, but with the renewed classes, I have to look at things more progressively and start to keep that up to date. We’re trying to build in on that site, we’re going to build in a booking system, facility.

Speaker 1 (22:04)
For your classes? Yeah.

Speaker 2 (22:05)
So currently the classes are all about soda bread, potato bread, which is the key skills in Northern Ireland for our traditional bread. It’s the the key parts for your ulster fry. So you have provenance in the items and certainly within the dish. Also, we’re doing currently scones. Also, people love to do scones. And as an introduction to yeast bread, we’re doing a fecaccia. Lovely. So when you do a three-hour class, you’ve got to… Because I want to transfer another skill, which is a yeast bread skill. It’s totally different from soda, for example. You need to take a class to understand that. Brilliant.

Speaker 1 (22:42)
I mean, we’ll come. My tummy’s rumbling there, just letting you know.

Speaker 2 (22:46)
So within a three-hour class, you’ve got to try and find yourself a bread that’s going to turn around within three hours. Pakecha works really well. And it tastes really good. With that, and also you’ve got to find something that interests people also. It works well within the three hours and people love it. But the key factor there is within transferring it to a yeast bread, the technique for that yeast bread production will transfer the other yeast bread.

Speaker 1 (23:12)
So you can take it across many other breads.

Speaker 2 (23:14)
Yeah, so that’s the key. It’s the technique and the process needed. They make that which will carry on the other items. Super.

Speaker 1 (23:20)
You’re going to be very busy, Mark. Yeah, we’re very busy. And finally, tell me, what advice would you give to anyone who’s thinking about getting into the baking trade, particularly if they’re going to do something artisan like yourself.

Speaker 2 (23:33)
Well, if you’re going to go into the baking trade, you need to prepare your sofa early hours. You’ve got to prepare yourself probably for a six-day working week. But beyond that, it’s about… I think you have to have a love for it. There’s no point in saying you’re going to go for it and try it. I think trying it will be good. Then probably that’s going to expose your love or not for it. But you got to be self-motivated. Again, you’ve got to try and find an interest and think to yourself, How could I then maybe progress within this trade? Could it be cake dagger rating, for example? There’s other avenues within the baking trade as opposed to just baking. Self motivation is going to be a huge thing. Massive. Yeah, that’s it.

Speaker 1 (24:15)
Especially for bakers. And I’m going to give the bakery I go to you a plug here. Tommy Patty and Greenkastle. Brilliant. Six days a week. The same. He’s there from morning to night. It’s a real tough game to be had.

Speaker 2 (24:26)
It’s long hours.

Speaker 1 (24:27)
But so rewarding, as you Brilliant. Well, listen, that was absolutely fantastic, Mark. I really wish you all the best. And what you’re doing and keeping the decisions going is amazing. I really mean that. So thank you very much for watching. And the Crazy Baker, Newton Ores market. Where else?

Speaker 2 (24:45)
Newton Ores market every Saturday. We do Cumber market the first Thursday in the month. On the other Thursdays, we are at Kerry, Ferguson. Catches up probably Balmar’s show this year for sure. We’ve just been to the Burma market, by the way, in London. Very good. A fortnight ago.

Speaker 1 (24:59)
And are you available for private functions?

Speaker 2 (25:02)
Well, yes. Funny, Mr. Wigger Waffles, he had mentioned that. So we had Michael does a lot of private functions. Yes, Michael Henderson. So that’s Michael’s feel. So when you talk to people like Michael, you think yourself, well, he certainly had said to me, it’s about you could maybe transfer yourself into that field. But then back to the one-man show, it’s about time. Yeah, how busy you are. Exactly, how you manage that.

Speaker 1 (25:27)
Well, honest to God, that was absolutely fantastic. And I hope everybody’s enjoyed that. And you’ll see where Mark’s available, underneath in the links. And hopefully, we’ll come to a market near you soon. So thanks again for watching.

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