This is the lovely Claire Ptak, owner of Violet Bakery in London.
Violet is a special place. It’s where Claire and her baking team plays with flavour, embraces the seasons, forages in the neighbourhood and creates beautifully baked goods for the community. Violet is also a space for creation, a launching point, white space for ideas to flow. It’s where writers get inspired. Screen plays are written. It’s where Claire records her podcast – Violet Sessions. It’s where the neighbours come together, over oatmeal scones studded with tea soaked prunes. It’s where wedding cakes, topped with fresh blossoms, are made.
I’ve wanted to interview Claire ever since I started cooking from her book, The Violet Bakery cookbook. I wanted to meet the woman who created such inspired recipes that play with seasonal ingredients and flavours in the most interesting but accessible way. The woman who doesn’t bother with yeast doughs because there’s no room in the tiny bakery kitchen for doughs to rise. I wanted to meet the woman who bought a 1940’s oven and hobart mixer for Violet from an old hospital kitchen, but wouldn’t think of skimping on the most exquisite ingredients for the kitchen. She’s a practical Californian turned Londoner who loves the arts, fashion, food and making space for others to create.
We met over coffee at Violet at the beginning of winter, just as citrus was being candied and mince pies where being made. Coconut was being shaved on snowy white marshmallow icing. Warms scents filled the place, and for a little while, I was part of that community of artists, creating something, at Violet Bakery.
We’re calling the episode Baking it Out. Claire, like many of us, bakes to find order in the disorder. She bakes to please others, to celebrate ingredients, to find balance in life, to connect with community. Baking is a therapy of sorts, but one where we all benefit. I’m a full believer in Baking it Out – whether it’s a cake topped with candied peel, or a simple chocolate chip cookie. It’s calming and generous. This is just one of the many things we chatted about, that crispy morning at Violet.
Other things we discuss in this episode:
–Breaking Eggs show, Ireland
-Simon Sinek – The WHY of your business – Ted Talk