Kenosi Udevbure is the brains behind Delightsome bakery, one of the most popular home-baked bread makers in Ibadan. In this interview with
FAVOUR BOLUWADE, she talks about her journey, challenges and prospects in the confectionery industry, among other issues.
How long have you been in the catering business?
In the cake aspect, I have been baking for 10 years and commercially for five years. For the bread, it’s been about two years but I went commercial this year after we got NAFDAC approval and so it’s official. The brand is Delightsome bread.
What was your drive to make your baking commercial?
It started with my children; when they wanted to celebrate their birthdays then, we had to go out to order cakes. I love unique cakes, so when it was their birthday, we had only regular cakes to order. Besides that, I come from a family where we have two professional bakers – my sister, who got international trainings and my mother. I was usually the ‘tasting’ person who just tried their recipes when they made them. I eventually got the interest in learning more, I wanted to bake the 3-D cakes I saw online and on television because I watch Food Network a lot. I would ask questions within myself if something like that could be done in Nigeria. I went to the market one time after and asked for a recipe from one of the vendors and after trying it, I got nice feedback, especially from my children who took the cake to school and got approval from their friends on how nice the cake tasted. This was the drive that took me to schools outside Ibadan to learn more and get better. I learnt some online too. My baking started getting a lot of attention and ‘who made this?’ questions.
The industry is quite large and competitive, what is special about Delightsome bread?
I have tried to create a niche for myself by being creative with my recipes. I am a Christian too and I pray to God for inspiration. Sometimes, when I am alone, the recipes come up. So, the recipe I use is unique. When our clients order for cake, I don’t like to duplicate other people’s work. If another baker sees my work and even thinks it’s like theirs, I still like to have my touch that makes it unique so they would say; ‘This looks like mine but it’s still different.’
What challenges have you got so far and how have you been tackling them?
One of the major challenges is the clients. There is this thing here that people just want to price and not care about all you had to do to meet their demands. Before now, I would work and realise I hadn’t made profit. I decided to just stick to my standard and not go below the quota because I wanted a client to stick with us. Going below standard would not be ideal for the business. It is better to work without losses than work and get nothing profitable. I am confident of my work and would never disappoint. I maintain the environment. Some will ask questions why on my products are more expensive. Let’s take for example, this weather we are in, it is not so nice when making fondant, so to dry the cake in the dressing process, one needs a particular temperature rate. I use the air conditioner for this purpose, not just lighting candles around the cake which is not even too hygienic and it’s definitely not appealing. You can imagine the weird feeling, walking into where your cake is being baked and you see seven candles lit around it. I go to great lengths to make the best bread and cakes and other confectioneries. We order for fresh eggs for all the bakings. You know Nigerians don’t like to just eat cake and finish at a go. We want to leave some in the fridge and eat till it gets stale. I put that freshness in consideration so that as long as my cake is in your fridge, you eat it fresh. Hence, my reasons for not giving the regular quota. I bake to standard. People say my bread is not as big as the normal N100 bread being bought around and I tell them it’s about the standard. Some people don’t understand standard and quality, they think it’s just ‘normal’ bread.
The other is just getting serious employees. But tackling these issues generally is not going below standard for any reason. With time, people who know quality will find you out.
What achievements are you proud of so far?
I am happy that we have trained a lot of people in this company and they are doing well on their own. It’s one of my greatest joy seeing them doing well out there. I am also excited about my ability to create recipes. I never knew I would or could do it but here I am, making new recipes on a regular basis.
How has it been balancing business and family?
Well, it’s been challenging too. (Laughs). I wake up really early and close very late mostly. In between, I have to drop my daughter in school. She sleeps while we are in the bakery and I have to wake her when it’s about time to resume at school. It’s just determination and standards that have been keeping me. I am a finisher. I love perfection and I do everything to the best bit and even go extra to make sure everything comes out in their best.
As an entrepreneur what do you have to say to Nigerians who complain about unemployment?
Create jobs. If you don’t have a job, seek training in a field you are interested in so it becomes a means of livelihood later. The problem with our people is wanting to get instant profit at startup, especially youths. You have to learn, do better and get quality out there before anyone would start paying premium. I know youths who would come here to intern or learn and the first question is asking how much they will make. Some, in their fields are becoming outdated and they don’t try to develop themselves in anything that is not a profit making avenue. You have to better yourself. Some come here and tell me the recipes they know which has been used ages ago, some in the 90s. I still travel out to get exposure on trending designs and recipes. In this industry, one has to be really unique. If you want to put yourself on social media, do it right. Talk to people so they know what you do.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am Kenosi Udvebure. I am married to Stanley Udevbure and we are blessed with three children. I’m from Edo North in Edo State. I am an entrepreneur in the baking aspect in the catering industry. I make cakes, pastries, confectioneries, train and mentor upcoming bakers who have passed through our classes and even if they haven’t passed through our trainings. I bake for all kinds of events and make snacks and desserts too. I do free training at times for those who need help and can’t afford the training but are passionate about learning. We bake bread commercially, producing everyday though it’s not the regular type of bread.
What recipe do you have for us today?
Recipe of the week
Butter bread recipe
Bread improver 5g
– Scale all dry ingredients including the butter with a mixing bowl
-Allow to mix for two minutes
– Add half of the water with the flour into your dry mixture, mix for another three minutes.
– Add remaining water and mix for five minutes, a total of ten minutes in all.
– Grease your baking pan
– Cut your dough into sizes and place in your greased pan.
– Allow your bread to proof for at least one and a half hours until when the dough is twice the size.
– Turn on your oven to 120°c and bake for a minimum of 30 minutes depending on how big the size of the dough is.
– Glaze the top of your bread with butter immediately it is out of the oven.