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Mio Asaka is the owner/patissier of Mio's Delectables.
She bakes her cakes at home and sells them at Farmers Markets.
I wake up at 1am on Saturday mornings so that the cakes I bake are absolutely fresh.
I run a cake booth at a Farmers Market every Saturday. So, I make the cake dough in the first half of the week and make things that taste better if they are left for a while – such as cakes – on Thursdays and Fridays. But I bake the scones and galettes on Friday afternoon or early Saturday morning.
On Saturday mornings, I get up at 1 or 2 o'clock and bake right before the booth opens. I used to bake things on Friday, but I always think that it's better to bake them fresh. If I look at it from the customer's perspective, I believe they will prefer if it's freshly-baked in the morning as I would, so I decided I must do that too for my customers.
My customers love variety of cakes – and I love their feedback.
Initially, I just had three different cakes and a few cookies. There is a reason why I increased the number of products. There are various events such as Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. At such times, I feel I want to make something special, and I bake one-off cakes for the occasion.
However, since the Farmers Market only opens once a week, when my customers come to my shop the following week, they ask me what happened to the variety of cakes from the previous week. They go home looking sad because they were looking forward to eating it. I took this feedback as encouragement and my range gradually snowballed till today where I have a big selection of cakes.
Human relationships are the base of everything.
I place the highest priority on my relationships with other people. That includes the staff who work with me, the people who help out at the market, and my friends who support me. Also my customers. Basically, I feel that if I don't take care of human relationships, everything will collapse. I think that's the foundation on which my work is based.
That's why really basic things like saying "thank you" when someone does something for you are so important. Sometimes you might forget to write a thank you note, but I try to remember as much as possible.
The secrets of making lemon-coloured lemon curd.
When I asked a friend if she knew someone who had fresh eggs produce, she said her old high school teacher had started raising chickens. At first, this person only had a few chickens, but now she has so many that even if I order 20-dozen eggs a week, she always accepts, and she always delivers eggs just for me.
Ordinary egg yolks are not yellow in the local area, so even if you make lemon curd it comes out white. I used to be ashamed about the colour of my lemon curd, but it became yellow after I started using that person's chicken eggs. I was really impressed the first time I broke an egg, and I felt like that is what eggs used to be like in Japan when I was young. Proper lemon-coloured lemon curd. I was so happy that I instantly took a picture.
Now we have a unique relationship. She told me three weeks ago that she wanted the chickens to eat the eggshells, so recently, after I use them, I keep the eggshells and return them to her when she delivers new eggs. It reduced my waste and helped me a lot. She was able to get the shells back and the chickens benefit from the calcium. Then, it helps me to have eggs that are rich in calcium. It's a real win-win.