As we countdown to the Melbourne/Narrm Market, get to know Suzie Hutchins, the baker behind Cakehouse Collective! She returns to the Finders Keepers this October with freshly baked goods – the perfect cure for market weekend cravings.
Cakehouse Collective is a small online bakeshop supplying freshly baked goods to local cafes throughout Melbourne. Every pie, cookie and cake is baked locally in Kensington using the best seasonal produce from local suppliers. We have a bit of a sweet spot for this small biz and can’t wait for you to try a slice at the Royal Exhibition Building on the 13th – 15th of October! Read on for more…
What inspired you to start Cakehouse Collective?
Just before COVID hit, I was the head chef at Liminal on Collins Street. I had been catching the tram into the city and listening to podcasts. I started listening to Cherry Bombe radio; they would interview people in the food industry, bakers, creatives and entrepreneurs. I was inspired by their community and wanted to be a part of something like that here in Melbourne. So, the word collective came to my mind, I wanted to bring together local chefs, bakers and creatives and promote their craft. Then COVID hit and I was stood down from my job; I took this as an opportunity to build this little community. I started baking apple pies for my family, and my partner said to pop it on social media and see if I could sell it. Next thing I was baking around the clock, turning my apartment into a micro-bakery and Cakehouse Collective was born. I still have a vision of connecting and bringing local artists together, but I can fulfil this desire of mine by doing the local market stalls and connecting with the community that way.
Can you share more about your background as a chef and the transition into baking?
I worked as a chef for over 20 years, I travelled the world working in kitchens in London after winning a scholarship to train anywhere in the world. I returned to Australia and started to head up kitchens around Melbourne and worked for a few years in beautiful WA. I absolutely love the hospitality industry and the fascinating people who work in it. My mum is 78 and still working in a kitchen, and this must be where much of my love for the kitchen comes from. When I started baking through COVID, I quickly discovered a whole new world of cooking that I needed to unlock. I started attending workshops with local bakers or online international bakers, constantly reading and learning new techniques. There was no going back from here. For me, it is adding to my skill set.
What is your favourite thing that you’ve created?
My favourite thing I’ve created would be – My sweet pie range. When I started on my baking journey, I was baking for local cafes and baking things that they wanted to sell in their shop. I continued to practice my pie recipes in my spare time and now I have a range that people love and would travel for.
When you’re not baking, what do you like to do for creative self-care and to find inspiration?
When I am not baking, you will catch me with a coffee in hand at readings in Carlton, checking out new baking books. Also, I spend quality time with my two children, Luka, who is four and Sofia, who is one.
What was your experience like in the first Finders Keepers?
My first Finders Keepers was incredible! I didn’t see much of it as we kept running out of stock, so I needed to stay back in the kitchen and bake until the final hour (literally). There was overwhelming support for all the stall holders from people attending the event; you could feel it in the air. When I came through with my last batch of pies on Sunday at 3pm, people commented about them and how they loved them. It was a feeling and moment I will never forget.
What are you listening to, reading and watching?
When I am working in the kitchen, I can listen to music and podcasts all day long. I usually listen to Triple R radio; I love The Score, presented by Samira Farah. They share an eclectic mix of music, a lot of old and new hip hop and R&B, and they also feature interviews exploring arts, culture and media.
What do you love about Melbourne?
I love the different cultural pockets of Melbourne. I drive around a lot delivering sweet pies and I love that when you drive down Lygon Street, it smells like sugo and garlic bread; Chinatown is roast pork and milk buns, Flemington is North African spices, Sydney Road is falafels and kebabs, the list goes on.
If you could only eat one pie for the rest of your life, what flavour would you pick?
My favourite pie would be the apple pie. The combination of a flaky pastry with delicious lightly sweetened locally sourced apples is something I hold high on my list of favourites, either that or my blueberry cheesecake.