My first introduction to baking was with my mother, I could see she enjoyed it and she is known within the family for her wonderful baking skills.
I was introduced to baking at the age of twelve and this made me think that maybe I could do this as a career as I really enjoyed it.
During my school years I baked cookies in secondary school for the ‘tea room’ and as my friends enjoyed this it made me more ambitious to try harder in this line of business.
Training & Development
With that in mind I applied to and successfully completed the H.C in Culinary Arts in the Killybegs School of Tourism in 2015 now known as ATU Donegal Killybegs.
As part of the course I had to undertake practice placements and was fortunate enough to gain one at the four star Redcastle Oceanfront Golf & Spa Hotel in Co. Donegal which is very near where I live.
The hotel boasts 2 AA Rosettes under an excellent executive chef.
I started working there in 2015 and I was delighted to be allocated to the pastry section. This was a steep learning curve and I have had the pleasure to work with many experienced chefs who took an interest in me and shared their knowledge and skills.
I gradually climbed the career ladder within this professional kitchen starting of as a Commis Chef, Pastry Chef, Chef de Partie to Junior Sous Chef.
This experience enabled me to complete my HACCP Level 3.
Start of BakeRona
At the end of 2019 my first venture into commercial selling of my traybakes coincided with the opening of the local coffee shop Timber & Duffy Coffee Co, Moville, Co. Donegal to whom I am very grateful.
Due to the lockdown I had time to experiment with more recipes. My family and friends were set the task of being ‘tasters’ and I took on board their comments tweaking recipes on their feedback.
At the same time I acquired more baking equipment and began to sell my baked goods on a very small scale to friends and family.
The business continued to grow and with a wider range of cupcakes, cakes and traybakes this attracted more business and customers.
After much discussion I finally settled on my business name ‘BakeRona’. I absolutely loved it – it was actually suggested by my father.
I designed the logo for BakeRona which can be seen stamped on various boxes.
BakeRona is pronounced as Bake(r)Rona.
I also set up my Instagram page to advertised my baking products and this allowed my customers to personal message me directly and discuss their requirements.
In order to present my bakes and cakes I purchased photography equipment to showcase these products and overtime perfected the necessary skills.
This enabled more people to view my range of baking products and added to my customer base. I continued to work full time in the Redcastle Hotel and on completion of my shift would come home and carry out my home baking orders.
Living the Dream
My dream was always to have my own bakery and as my business expanded and had outgrown my parents kitchen I needed to look for a premises to continue this career. So in early 2021 I began to look around for suitable premises. Having looked at several premises with the help of family and friends, a property became available to let and suited my kitchen requirements. I was absolutely delighted when the landlord agreed to let it to me. The premises needed refurbishing and equipped with a professional kitchen.
I was given the keys in July 2021 and immediately began to get the kitchen ready to the standard required by the HSE.
I finally moved into my new bakery on the 20th November 2021.
I’m so proud that I finally achieved my dream as were my parents, family and friends who have been so supportive throughout my whole journey, not just as taste testers, but also helping me at the local farmers market, packing boxes and washing dishes!
I really could not have done this without their help. I am so grateful to all of them. They have been amazing.
Thank you everyone for your continued support.