Tough Mary’s Bakehouse

Tough Mary’s Bakehouse has only been open for a couple of months but as already got quite a following. The sunshine yellow bakery frontage on Derby Road has been brightening up people’s days and with the smell of freshly baked sourdough, croissants and sweet treats billowing out the door the following is sure to get bigger! I went to speak to owner and head baker Kate O’Shea for an interview for Handmade Nottingham Magazine

Tough Mary’s Bakehouse from Unlucky Dan on Vimeo.

Where did you learn baking?
I have always baked at home, with my mum or on my own. Then I decided to quit fashion and started working in a restaurant and ended up on the pastry section so learned quite a lot on the job. Then I went to work at a bakery in Suffolk where I learned a lot, then to Sheffield where I learned some more.

Are you originally from Nottingham?
No I’m from London, but I came to university in Nottingham (NTU), I didn’t want to live in London so I decided to stay up here.

Kate at work

What made you want to start your own bakery?
I wanted to work at a good bakery, at the time there were no bakeries in Nottingham, or at least not one that was big enough to employ me. I missed Nottingham, I missed my friends, I missed my boyfriend. I thought Sheffield would be an ok commute but it’s still quite far, plus living on my own. So I thought I would just do it by myself, create my own job!

When did you start getting Tough Mary’s Bakehouse up and running?
I got my first bakery job in June 2015, then it was New Year’s Eve last year that [me and my boyfriend] thought “we live apart, how are we going to fix this?”. So I started writing a business plan, then around April I came and saw this shop and really liked it, I started getting planning permission and put in an offer. I got the keys in November 2016.

How did you fund the business?
It was about a third my money and two thirds my parents. I have also got a grant but the money hasn’t come through yet.



And the worst bit?
Probably paperwork and finding the time to do it.

What is your favourite sandwich?
I don’t really like sandwiches! I had a cheese toasty on the raisin and fennel bread left over from
Saturday and that was really good, I thought it might be weird but it was really, really nice!

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