Originally from Bulgaria, Diana Perishuva, a former Ayrshire College Bakery student opened the artisan bakery and coffee shop – Bhaile Craft Bakery in Ayr.
The bakery focuses on high-quality, organic, locally sourced ingredients with a European twist.
Here’s what Diana had to say about her journey into the world of baking.
“We opened the bakery in November 2017, and I went round local Ayrshire farmers markets for about a year or so before that.
Initially I baked from home and baked from my garage for the market stalls, then I heard about the bakery course, and thought it would be a really good thing for me to be connected to the College. It helped to build up my resources and also look out for potential employees for my business.
One of the students, David Welsh, from the course now works full-time with me. He started part-time when we opened, then became full-time at Christmas. I started with only 6 staff members, we now have 14. I’ve recently taken on board two bakers from France, which is great as they bring different knowledge and expertise to baking.
For me, doing the Bakery course was extremely useful. It was good working in a like-minded group. The college as a resource has a lot to offer, and everybody was helpful, the lecturer, Stuart Fitzsimmons is a great guy. I had such a great time, a really good experience.
It’s one thing to be a home baker, it’s another entirely to work in a professional kitchen. I had never worked in a professional kitchen before, I’m not a baker by trade or profession.
My background is more about design and photography. I’ve always been an artist. I’m keen to have local artists exhibiting their work in the bakery café, and I have a few on board already. Baking was always secondary, but I’ve taken the chance.
It is hard work, I start at 4am and usually finish around 7pm. Every day brings new challenges, it’s a learning curve!
We tend to evolve every day. Every morning we have a meeting to decide what we’ll make for the day, so it changes daily with different ideas. We’ll add new things, so every time a customer comes here, they’ll see something new. It gives us the versatility to create things and not simply have the same produce every day. It keeps it interesting and makes it unique!
It’s getting very busy, especially on Fridays and Saturdays; there’s a queue of people waiting to sit in the coffee shop, and we sell out around twice a day.
There’s something to be proud of every day. Opening a business is not an easy thing, but it is very rewarding. I think people like what we do, and you can’t get better than that.”
Apply now for the next Bakery course, starting in August 2018.