20 Questions: The founder of The Sugar Rose Kitchen, maker of some of most desirable cakes you could wish for, takes on raikesjournal.co.uk’s 20 questions
Her fantasy dinner dates would include Mary Berry and Beyonce – if only to see the Queen of British baking delivering a version of the American icon’s Single Ladies – and her business dream is her own café of commercial kitchen.
Morphing from market stall specialist to on-line entrepreneur due to lockdown (a delicious 'Birthday in a Box' offer and 'Brownies in the Post' to die for are now available at a click), the Churchdown businesswoman and mother values more than ever the “incredible sense of community across the whole county, the beautiful countryside and the fab local businesses, especially the food and craft ones".
Her favourite event in the county would be a day at Cheltenham Food Festival, and she has long-term ambitions to expand her cake-making business, but it is for always making people feel welcome and being a good friend she would most like to be remembers.
In the second of its weekend series, Samantha Monoyou, founder of custom-made cakes specialist The Sugar Rose Kitchen, sat down with raikesjournal.co.uk (at a safe social distance, of course) to answer its ‘20 Questions’.
Question: What is your favourite film or series?
Answer: High Fidelity / Mad Men
Q: You’re hosting a dinner party and can invite any three guests from any time in history. Who would they be and why?
A: Mary Berry - aside from the baking knowledge I could gain from her, she seems like an incredibly interesting and lovely woman.
Marilyn Monroe - because my Dad loved her, and think of the stories!
Beyonce - just because how incredible would that entertainment be. And I’d love to see Mary Berry having a go at the Single Ladies dance routine.
Q: What is the best bit of your job?
A: How happy my customers seem to be with my cakes. I love providing a little bit of luxury and indulgence to them.
Q: What is the worst part of your job?
A: Trying to stop myself eating all the offcuts!
Q: Who was your childhood hero or the person you looked up to?
A: My lovely Mum
Q: Where is your favourite place in Gloucestershire?
A: Ooh that’s a tough one, I would have to say Slimbridge or Bourton on the Water but I also love a day looking around the independent shops in Tetbury or Burford (with a lovely lunch too of course!) and have recently discovered Cannop Ponds in the Forest of Dean, it’s absolutely beautiful.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone starting out now?
A: Value your time. Don’t work for ‘exposure’ or for free. Set your hourly rate and as you become more skilled through training or just practice, up your hourly rate. Celebration cakes are a quality handmade product which require a lot of skill and take hours and hours to produce but a lot of people don’t appreciate this.
Q: Was there a mistake or piece of bad luck which changed things for the better?
A: Well sort of, after my maternity leave I couldn’t return to work as I needed part-time hours and my employer was unable to offer me a flexible solution. Around the same time I was making celebration cakes and being asked to start making them for friends, people were offering to pay me and I realised it was something I could actually do for a living. This was about 5 years ago, I’ve now been a business owner for longer than any job I ever had in the past and I can’t imagine ever doing anything else!
Q: What is your favourite piece of music?
A: Run For Your Life by The Beatles and Coat of Many Colours by Dolly Parton
Q: What qualities do you look for in a new member of staff?
A: I have no staff, anyone who helps me out (friends and family) must be willing to work for cake!
Q: What is your favourite pudding?
A: My Mum’s apple crumble and custard
Q: Has the coronavirus pandemic changed how you see the world?
A: It really has, it has made me realise how many incredibly generous, caring and selfless people there are out there. It’s made me appreciate our outdoor spaces more in particular and crave a more simple life. I appreciate time with loved ones even more and the realisation that there are a lot more important things than work! Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do but I love my family and friends more.
Q: If it was in the name of pleasure – would it be car, bicycle, walk, run, swim?
Q: What is the best thing about living/working in Gloucestershire?
A: The incredible sense of community across the whole county, the beautiful countryside and the fab local businesses, especially the food and craft ones! We’re so lucky to have so much talent on our doorstep.
Q: If you could wave a magic wand to achieve what you wanted to at work, what would it be?
A: A commercial kitchen, a team, maybe a shop/cafe.
Q: What’s your biggest frustration?
A: Having a small home kitchen! An extra room just for boxing up brownies for my ‘Brownies in the Post’ would be helpful right now.
Q: If you could start again and had to do something else, what would it be?
A: Something crafty, papercraft or jewellery making. Failing that, anything else to do with food and/or wine, maybe restaurant critic, that would be a great job!
Q: Cheltenham Festival, any of the town’s others festivals, Giffords Circus, Stroud Fringe, Gloucester Rugby v Bath, Three Choirs Festival, Cirencester food Festival, evensong at Tewkesbury Abbey, or Newent Onion Fayre? And why?
A: Cheltenham Food Festival, have always loved it, it always (until this year) falls on my birthday week, we invite family and friends along and spend the day eating and drinking, listening to music and generally having a fab day out.
Q: If you had to recommend a pub or restaurant in Gloucestershire, what would it be and why?
A: The Gloucester Old Spot because they make the most incredible Sunday lunch.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
A: Juggling running my own cake shop, managing my converted barn and raising a teenager!!!
Q: What would you like to be remembered for?
A: Always making people feel welcome, being a good friend.
To find out more about The Sugar Rose Kitchen visit: www.thesugarrosekitchen.co.uk
Every week theraikesjournal champions an individual from the Gloucestershire business community through the '20 questions' feature.
We pick them on merit (but if you want to guarantee to be featured £75 will ensure that happens and the article on you goes to our near 10,000 social media connections. Email: email@example.com).