Martha Brown, owner of Sheffield business Forge Bakehouse, took time out of her busy schedule to speak with 30 Doncaster College Level 3 Hospitality & Catering students about what it takes to open your own food-based business.
Forge Bakehouse states that the business has ‘been baking for the people of Sheffield and beyond’ since 2012 and the artisan nature of the business is clear throughout their website and social platforms. They proudly claim, ‘our bakers, chefs and baristas make everything from scratch – meaning we know exactly what’s in it. No improvers, no additives.
From small bakery, to bigger premises, to opening a cafe – our story has been one of growth. As demand has risen, so have we, filling our shelves everyday with exceptional bread and pastry, all made in house.’
Organised by Chef Lecturer, Simon Barton, this talk gave students insight into Martha’s business and how she started her career. Martha shared her company’s ethos, produce, challenges, expansion, and even how Covid-19 impacted the bakehouse. Students were able to take away indispensable information and perhaps even some inspiration to start their own businesses in the future. The talk was originally organised pre-Covid as a College visit, but due to current restrictions plans had to be changed. Despite this, students made the most of the opportunity, taking their chance to ask the business owner about her achievements as well as her future plans for the bakehouse. One of Doncaster College’s Hospitality & Catering students commented on the virtual talk, saying “It was really good! It gave me a great insight in to what owning a bakery is really like and the problems they face with public demand and with Covid many businesses have had to close, so seeing how she has managed to keep hers going was a good example of what to do.”
Chef Lecturer Simon said “This was an inspirational, interesting and relevant talk from the owner of the Forge bakehouse in Sheffield. Martha really gave a detailed insight into the starting, running and what it takes to run a business, she gave honest answers to the many questions our students had and was very humble in her approach”
When asked about her business and her passion for baking, Martha commented “Baking satisfies both my creative and scientific brain. I love that you are constantly learning, and always having to adapt your process to suit the environment you are working in. It’s hard to beat the satisfaction you feel after unloading a deck of freshly baked bread, even if you had to get up at 3am to do it.”