Would it not be great if you could not just read this interview but actually taste the fantastic creations that The Mixing Bowl create? Yes, it would! I have been to their place and I know that the small of freshly baked bread and the taste of sweet macaroons goes well with a hot coffee. For now, you’ll have to wait and just imagine the great taste and smell of the products that Kyle and Victor bake.
But let me start at the beginning. I’m a big fan of MeetUps here in Hong Kong as they give me the opportunity to try out so many new things, including baking classes. So last year, I joined a macaron baking class at The Mixing Bowl (here’s my blog post) and I had great fun there. Kyle and Victor had a lot of patience, some clever tips to ensure my macarons would rise and were just so fun and easy-going that I enjoyed my Friday evening with them.
Back then they told me about their plans to open their own place in Sheung Wan: G/F No.5 Shin Hing Street, Sheung Wan. Now they are coming close to living their dream. If you follow their Facebook page you can already see the shop/cafe is taking shape – and hopefully I can soon visit them there.
For today, let me interview Kyle about his love for baking and his future plans.
What made you start The Mixing Bowl ? What’s the inspiration behind it?
I myself grow up in a family where we produced the majority of the food that was placed on the dinning table for dinner from canned foods, fresh greens, baked goods to the meat we ate. Victor on the other hand developed a love for cooking and baking in the UK where he moved after graduation from university. It was in London, UK that the two of use really began baking and experimenting a lot more. There was lots of motivation with the UK being a bakers paradise with inspirational TV shows such as the Great British Bake Off and with so many quaint and unique bakery/coffee shops that we would visit dotted around London.
We started out wanting to work with children as I am a schoolteacher and feel that there is a disconnect between the kitchen and children in the 21st century. I feel the cooking is a great way to reinforce all subjects that children, teens and adults learn in school. As I was growing up, I remember working in the kitchen with my mom and grandmothers, and great grandma learning math, reading recipe as I would be cooking and baking.
While in the UK I did some research and volunteered at a Kids Cookers School in London and thoroughly enjoyed it. When we confirmed our move back to Hong Kong we decided we would launch The Mixing Bowl out of our home. We felt that Hong Kong there was a definite need and market to teach baking as many new homes in Hong Kong are now being fitted with ovens and it would be a great way to get everyone involved making home baked goods with not additives or preservatives as well as learning some of the science, maths… behind what happens in the kitchen.
We both thoroughly enjoy being in the kitchen and The Mixing Bowl has made things even more exciting as we get to meet some many amazing people from around the world.
How did you come up with the name and logo?
Victor designed our logo and the name came from us brainstorming a variety of options. We wanted our name to represent what we do. Mixing people and ingredients to create something special. The logo has changed as it will incorporate both our coffee shop and classes we went for a more classy feel.
Here’s already a sneak peak at our new logo:
What has been your highlight so far?
I would have to say the connection we have made with our clients has been the best part of running our business.
What are your plans for 2014?
For 2014 we will be expanding and opening up a ground floor shop in March at: G/F No.5 Shin Hing Street, Sheung Wan. Down stairs will feature our Coffee Shop/Restaurant where we will sell home cooked comfort foods (toast, blueberry pancakes, fish pie, lasagna, scones, banana bread, cinnamon buns…). Up stairs we will have a bigger venue to run our classes and will also hold private parties and corporate events. By the end of 2014 we hope to expand and have a portable baking team that will go into schools and give students hands on experience and practical application of what they are learning.
What’s your favourite baking recipe?
Our favourite recipe would probably be our cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing.
What kitchen essentials should we always have stocked in our pantries?
Tools: Scale, rolling pin, a couple glass or metal bowls, mixer, liquid measuring jug, baking tray, measuring spoons, bread tin and tart dish.
Ingredients: Strong Bread Flour, Plain Flour, Baking Power, Baking Soda, Dried fruits, Milk, Butter, Salt, Vanilla, Coco Powder, Bag of Chocolate, Yeast, Eggs, Cheese
What are your favourite bakeries in Hong Kong?
Simply Life, Levain Bakery, Passions…
What’s your earliest food memory?
My earliest food memory would be my grandma’s fresh buns. When every you went to her house should would always have hot fresh buns ready to be pulled out of the oven. We would break them open and cover them in peanut butter, jams, and honey.
Have you always wanted to run a baking business?
I have always been interested in running my own business and started out in high school with a program called Junior Achievements, which sets young entrepreneurs up with mentors within their community. The mentors help teams of students start something under their guidance and teach them the basics of business along the way. Then when I was in university I opened a painting business with 6 employees
Do you have any advice for people wanting to start their own business in Hong Kong?
Start small. Do your research well in advance. Talk to someone in the industry to learn as much as you can ahead of time. Have a very clear plan when opening a shop with all the small details clearly laid out so there is no room for any misunderstandings.
Thanks Kyle, it was nice talking with you. I’m wishing you lots of luck for your store opening later this spring and can’t wait to have my first coffee there!
[All pictures in this post belong to Kyle and Victor at The Mixing Bowl]
PS: Missed a previous interview with a Hong Kong blogger or expert? Check out my series here.