Friends Lottie Murphy and Wendy Chow have always been surrounded by baked goods, from enjoying them as children to learning how to make them as adults. Two years ago, they turned a personal passion into a thriving business, bringing comfort food from their native UK to people from all over in Beijing.
The journey began when Lottie (who has been in Beijing for three years) and Wendy (who has been here for six) started talking about how difficult it was to get good mince pies in the city. That got them reminiscing about other favorite baked treats and they eventually decided to make a few pies for their families. When friends got wind of the duo’s kitchen capers, they asked the pair to make more for their families as well.
So, they got busy kneading. They scheduled the baking around their children’s naptimes and often took the kids with them when it was time to sell the goods at bazaars. As their customer base expanded beyond the city’s British community, what started out as a personal project born from homesickness turned into a small business.
They named their venture “Paddington Bakery” after Paddington Bear, the popular children’s book character from the UK. Initially, Paddington Bakery sold a modest selection of puddings and pies. Since then, the business has expanded to include fudge, biscuits, and Christmas cakes (RMB 250 for a gift-wrapped individual cake, RMB 280 for a medium 1.3kg cake, and RMB 380 for a large 2kg cake). Paddington Bakery’s bestsellers remain British goodies like shortbread, gingerbread men (RMB 20 per biscuit or RMB 60 per pot of biscuits), and crisp, buttery mince pies (RMB 15-20 each).
While the bulk of the business’ products are made from family recipes, they also like to experiment with new flavors. Last year they introduced chili cheese biscuits and a luxury nut range, which have proven popular at bake sales and bazaars. There are even China-specific flavors like Sichuan pepper cashew nuts (RMB 60 per pot or RMB 50 per pot for bulk purchases). Lottie and Wendy also sell gingerbread kits containing gingerbread mix, a cookie cutter, and a handwritten recipe. Look out for them at Christmas bazaars around town.
Place your order by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, call Lottie at 137 1857 5931 or Wendy at 132 6424 7764.
Photos by Ken and Dana Cosio-Mercado
This article originally appeared on p22 of the beijingkids December 2013 issue.
Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com