'It's an asset to the area': Cakes stall set to stay in Romford Market
- Credit: Courtney's Cakes
A stall run by a Michelin-experienced pastry chef is set to stay in Romford Market.
Courtney Gwatkin, founder of Courtney's Cakes, secured her pitch in Romford Market through Romford Business Improvement District’s (BID) Pitch for a Pitch competition earlier this year.
As the winner, Courtney was provided with a six-month pitch for her business.
Thanks to her stall's success, Courtney has decided to keep her spot in the market.
Since May, Courtney says she has sold around 2,000 cakes through the opportunity with BID, which offered her “a lot of support, direction and the opportunity to get out there”.
She said being part of Romford Market has enabled her to meet many “repeat customers” and “a lot of new friends”.
The 24-year-old said: “I have in mind opening a shop in Romford, but for the moment I am focusing on the market.
“I've had such an amazing experience and platform here. I want to invest in the market as I think it’s such an asset to the area.”
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Courtney added: "People seem to like me as a person and they want to invest in a small business."
The pastry chef of 14 years describes her brand as producing “handmade, mouth-watering sweet treats” including brownies, hot chocolate bombs and loaded cakes.
Her cookie pies are a bestseller which takes up to three days to make, Courtney said.
All of Courtney's Cakes are made in small batches and cut in “generous portions”, she added.
Ahead of Christmas, the stall will offer many festive additions such as an “iconic” Christmas Eve box brimming with bestsellers and chocolate bombs.
Speaking of her chocolate bomb creation, Courtney said: “It is a handmade chocolate sphere filled with marshmallow and fillings, which are revealed once hot milk is poured over the bomb.
"They’re a wonderful addition to a Christmas Eve box or as a gift this festive season.”
Chocolate bomb flavours include velvet chocolate, cookies and cream, Terry’s chocolate orange, Malteser, gingerbread and salted caramel.
Admitting she has a sweet tooth herself, Courtney said her favourite sweet treat is the caramel crunch, which is a twist on a millionaire's shortbread but with a lighter base.
She said: “I love caramel, so wanted to create a caramel treat where you could bite into it and see your teeth marks and, as with everything, the nice thin layer of chocolate on top makes it great.”
Courtney will also have a stall at Langtons Gardens this Sunday (November 21), where a Christmas Fair will run from 10am to 2pm.
In preparation for her Romford Market stall, which is open from 9am to 5pm every Saturday, Courtney, bakes every Friday evening until midnight.
She also works fulltime as a pastry chef in Canary Wharf.
Posting bakes which are available via her Instagram account, Courtney takes orders for free delivery in the Romford area every Saturday afternoon.
She says she encourages anyone thinking to set up a stall to “go for it”, adding: “It’s hard work, but very rewarding."
“If you put the effort and time in you will reap the rewards, people want to spend with small businesses and Romford is dying out for the market to flourish.
“Take the opportunity and you will see your business grow and I am testament to the market's ability to grow your company.”
Courtney said she would like to thank all the other traders at Romford Market for their “support, advice and guidance” over the past month.
She added: “It’s a real community and everyone looks after each other and wants everyone to succeed.”
Courtney will be launching website orders on November 20.
Christmas orders can be pre-ordered with a 10 per cent discount by quoting “Romford Recorder”.