I started baking from my mother’s kitchen —Mrs Bakersfield
Olushola Akinyemi is the director of Mrs. Bakersfield, a bakery and confectionary outfit in Lagos. She is a graduate of University of Abuja. In this interview with ROTIMI IGE, she talks about her craft, among other topics.
How did you develop interest in confectionery?
My mother would always make all the cake and pies we used for occasions at home when I was growing up, you hardly find bakeries around and the few were quite expensive. I would always watch how flour, eggs and sugar would always turn into something amazing. So, during the school holidays, I would beg for a chance to mix something for breakfast or a snack and luckily, I always had good feedback from my siblings. Now, thinking about it, may be their complements to me was because they did not want to starve. I also had a few neighbors’ that were willing to pay a little something for baked goods so I realised that I could be paid for doing something I love and that was how my interest in confectionary started.
You are based in Lagos. Tell us about the confectionery industry and its challenges
Yes, we are. It is a regulated industry as all food business are due to health and safety implications so all our ingredients. We get we make sure it is original and approved because there are a lot of fake and substandard products in the markets.
The industry is a tough one because majority of the ingredients are imported and this affects the cost of production and sales, also because most of the machines are also imported it costs a lot to carry out servicing and maintenance.
Tell us about your outfit…
Mrs. Bakersfield has been in business for about seven years but it is still a small business. However, we have overcome the recessions and all the business challenges the environment has thrown at us. I started with my kitchen oven but we have been consistent with what we do we also do not compromise on the quality of the products. We have also tried our best to evolve with our clients and what they want. We take feedbacks very seriously .We try our best to learn everyday so that we also so as to keep up with the trends.
How have you been able to overcome these to become one of the most sought after bakers?
We have overcome many of the challenges by re-strategising, we rolled out a few products, knocked on doors so we could get the products directly to our consumers so they would not have to go to the shops. Our products diversification has made us one of the most sought after in the Ajah regoin.
Sugary foods and obesity…or is a myth?
Everything must be in moderation. It is not a matter of not eating sugar or a lot of it, it has to do with potion control and ensuring you have a balanced diet with appropriate daily physical activity.
What is your best confectionery?
For me, it is the simple white cake. It appeals to most people that I know and the ingredients are very easy to get and very affordable.