This Blog was written in March 2014
Today I was planned to meet with Sue Vaarkamp who makes the cakes we sell in the hut.I began the day quite nervously, as I hadn’t done anything like this for a while and it would look quite bad if I managed to mess this one up, as it was the first interview I’d done for the company.
I drove to my bosses house with the assumption that the interview would be at some point in the afternoon, which would give me plenty of time to prepare and gather myself for it. I arrived at my boss’s house at 9 O’clock. “The interview will be one hour.” she told me “oh.” No bother I’d just have to do a quick plan and then be out the door. I punched the address into Google maps, which is always a risk In North Wales, but I like to live dangerously.Thankfully Maps was on my side and I got to Mrs Vaarkamp’s house with no trouble…. well it took me to the next farm along but I deduced my error and brushed it aside.
Mrs Vaarkamp’s house was a beautiful red-bricked, white window-pained dream. Waiting for me in the porch was Mrs Vaarkamp. The first thing she mentioned was me shooting past her house in my car heading the completely wrong direction; (I thought I’d got away with that one too.)Mrs Vaarkamp offered me a cake and tea which would have been foolish to decline, already seeing her products being sold like….well… hot cakes, in the hut.
“That’s Chocolate and Beetroot” she declared to me as I was taking a bite into the soft, spongy cake. It was nice too, I never knew ingredients like that really complemented each other so well, but it’s precisely these kinds of ingredients that Mrs Vaarkamp prides herself on. She told me of the many unique flavours she likes to work with using conventional Welsh recipes, but adding her own stamp on each cake she makes with passion and a genuine love for baking.
My nerves were soon put aside without realizing, due to Mrs Vaarkamp’s endearing hospitality and kindly nature. We discussed her history with baking which began at a young age watching and working with her mother, who was a qualified confectioner. We discussed baking further, “What’s your favourite cake to bake?” I inquired. “I tend to have a preference to make unusual cakes, anybody can make coffee and walnut which cake is good, people enjoy that, I just think there may be a gap in the market for the more unusual flavour combinations.”
Mrs Vaarkamp went on to list some of the more unusual cakes she has in her arsenal. The ones that stood out were the courgette and lemon, chili and chocolate, to name a few. She also mentioned a recipe she had for a tomato soup cake which I didn’t know what to think of, although I’m certain it would be a triumph along with her other recipes.
Mrs Vaarkamp uses authentic methods when making her cakes – all the work is done by hand, with no use of a food processor or artificial flavours. In her words “It’s me, a wooden spoon, a bowl and an AGA, very occasionally I’ll get a bit frisky and use a whisk but other than that it’s all by hand.” This makes the baking more personal and traditional which shows in her finished products.As I finished the cake and tea given to me I wrapped up the interview. This was my first time meeting Mrs Vaarkamp and the interview went well. I headed back to my boss’s house (going the right way this time) feeling more confident about my next meeting.