Thirty-five years of hand-finished pies, cakes and pastries.
Norfolk based bakery Pastry Cutters has been producing an award-winning range of handmade and hand-finished pies, cakes and pastries for over thirty-five years, working from traditional recipes handed down for generations. The team of company director Richard Hadley and his son Jonathan are ensuring that artisan skills and expertise continue to be passed along, while preserving an inheritance of recipes and techniques received from the previous generation of family bakers.
Like hot cakes
Winners of the inaugural Norfolk Sourced Locally Supplier of the Year competition, awarded by the East of England Cooperative Society in 2012, Pastry Cutters took first place against stiff competition from producers across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex in a public vote.
“Our pastry recipe began with my great grandmother,” Jonathan explained, “who passed the recipe to my grandmother- who at 86 years of age has seen the family business grow into the success we have today. We are very proud of that heritage, and we still use the same recipe.”
Not just pie in the sky
These days, Pastry Cutters produces everything from its dedicated site in Hellesdon, Norfolk, but the business has grown out of the family kitchen, starting out life in 1987.
Director Richard Hadley has a background in food production extending further back than the idea for Pastry Cutters. “I was managing a butcher’s shop in the mid-80’s and was disappointed by the quality of the pies and pastries we were selling,” he confessed. “My wife Julie tried them and we decided we could do better.”
“The first samples we made from our kitchen at home were traditional meat pies and sausage rolls, which proved to be an instant success with customers.”
It was not long before “we began supplying the other two shops my employer owned, and from there we made the jump to opening a market stall and increasing our product range.”
“Soon,” he revealed, “we ran out of space for ingredients and stock, and the equipment we were using began to pack up with all the use it was getting. We had gone through three oven doors and were keeping them closed with a stool!”
Eventually, the success of Pastry Cutters necessitated finding a new place of business. “We were working 18-hour days sometimes, and it got to be so much that we had to seriously consider either knocking on the head or taking it one step further,” Richard acknowledged. From there, the decision to expand into more suitable premises was made, leading to the conversion of an industrial unit into a new bakery.
A bigger slice
“After we made the move into the new building the business really took off,” said Mr. Hadley, “and we were offered a market stall in Swaffham,” followed by gaining a major contract for “a supermarket chain in Wroxham, supplying all its outlets.”
Not long afterward, Pastry Cutters began its relationship with the East of England Co-op, “which took over one of the supermarkets we were supplying, and made the decision which took the company to the next level, not only keeping our products but extending the contract into other Co-op outlets.”
Today, Pastry Cutters supplies 30 Co-op stores each week and employs nine full time members of staff, earning recognition for its quality from the Cooperative, winning the title Producer of the Year, “and we have been growing ever since,” Mr Hadley confirmed.
“We are delighted to be part of a growing industry sector, and an expanding local success story.”