A passion for pastries

18 Jun 2019 / 11:18 H.

HER lack of experience did nothing to stifle Iva Kuck’s passion for making healthy pastries and snacks. With patience and perseverance, she bided her time until she could buy the equipment and develop her own baking skills and make her pastry chef dreams a reality.

Today, 25-year-old Kuck uses her resourcefulness, ideas gleaned from the internet, and the skills learnt from her background in mass communications to run and promote her homemade crumble tarts, granola, and other healthy creations under the name Soul Good on Facebook.

What made you start making your own pastries?

“I [have been] very interested in desserts since I was little.

“I always go to cafes. I go cafe hopping [to discover] new places, new foods, and unique drinks.

“One thing that stuck out to me is how foods, especially the pastries at cafes, are too sweet and generally unhealthy. Since I frequent these cafes, I also realised that I was eating unhealthily.

“I feel like most of the pastries sold at cafes are meant to look good for sharing on social networks, and taste overly sweet, to make customers eat more, but they totally ignore the health factor.”

So, how did you start?

“I began by buying my own oven. When I started working part-time, I saved money and bought a large convection oven. I also bought my electric mixer and virtually everything [else] I needed to start baking.

“At first, I wanted just to do it for myself and my family, I didn’t even think about opening a small business. However, when I started sharing what I made with my friends, one of them suggested to me to sell them online.

“I wasn’t against the idea because eating healthy has become a trend, and there is a demand for the types of pastries that I make.”

What do you make?

“I started with granola, after that, I made my own version of the crumble tart. A lot of people have a misconception of the crumble tart, they say it could either be healthy but not delicious, or delicious but not healthy. I was determined to make a version that is both healthy and delicious.

“[Almost] all of my creations are oat-based. Take, for example, my oat based tart. I use real fruits like banana and chocolate, and I don’t add additional colouring, flavouring or sweeteners. The result tastes good with its natural characteristics, but the look doesn’t pop like what you see in most ‘Instagram cafes’.”

When did you start in earnest?

“I started baking in large batches about two years ago when my nephew [turned one]. For his first birthday [I] volunteered to make some treats for the event.

“As a party favour, I baked jars of granola for the birthday party.

“After that, I opened a Facebook page and that is where I sell my creations. It’s called Soul Good. It’s kind of a play on words.

“I hope to start partnering with a cafe this year and supply them with my creations. It’s a step towards my ultimate goal of opening my own cafe someday.”

With your full-time job, how do you make time baking?

“I usually bake on weekends. I research on what to bake, or what I feel like baking and the ingredients I need. I’m not a fan of going out and shopping, so if I have enough to start, I just do it.

“I also bake at night, after work, especially if I have orders to fulfil. I take time to deliver them as well.

“My full-time job is a 9-to-5 job, so after devoting my time to work, I spend my time baking.

“I also really like to do research for what I bake. It actually took me months to research about the crumble tarts, to make [them] the way I want. To have [them] with the right consistency, texture, and taste while still remaining healthy was not easy.”

Since baking is your passion, why aren’t you a full-time baker?

“The thing is, I studied mass communications, and although I was interested in pastries since I was little, my family wasn’t as supportive about it. In fact, my mother was surprised when I started buying the ingredients and equipment I needed to bake.

“My family asked me why I bought all these things, and I said I wanted to bake.

“They even wanted me to study [and take up] a more lucrative career like doctor [or] lawyer.

“However, I realised that when I studied, I have time to spare, especially on weekends, so I used that to pursue my passion and bake for myself.”

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