Taking the bakery game to a new level
In Brighton’s highly competitive café market, one name that stands out from the crowd is The Flour Pot bakery. From their first café on Sydney Street, it was clear that their dedication to producing quality artisanal products was going to win over Brighton’s discerning café dwellers. Building on the success of that first venue more quickly followed. Flour Pot now have five stores across Brighton and Hove, providing quality baked goods and coffee to their adoring fans. This ambitious expansion has been widely supported by Brighton’s citizens, who are always keen to support a local success story.
A man with a big idea
Central to Flour Pot’s success is the dedication of its owner, Oli Hyde, and his team of chefs, bakers, front of house and support staff. Oli started life as a chef and caterer before founding Flour Pot. His experience in hospitality provided Oli with the desire to provide delicious food that is delivered in a timely and reliable fashion. Building a team of dedicated and like-minded individuals around him, Oli created The Flour Pot and has not looked back. Success has been built on a foundation of classic British and French products with new ideas being developed all the time, thus keeping things interesting and varied.
We met with Oli to talk about all things Flour Pot and the journey so far.
Oli, could you give us a little background on your personal journey that led to the creation of Flour Pot?
I have spent many years working as a chef around Brighton and Hove, notably Terre a Terre and One Paston Place, to name a couple. In addition, I also set up and ran a high-end catering business, Juniper Catering, which is still going today. This really refined my understanding of the importance of quality ingredients to the fundamentals of great cookery. With that in mind, I felt that making the best bread is the ultimate demonstration of the craft of food preparation and production. I was always aiming for a restaurant one day, but finances are much harder to come by for premises like these, so I started with the Flour Pot 5 years ago and aimed to build on that. This is probably a good time to announce that we now have our Seafront arches site, on the west side of Murmur, which is due to open early summer 2018. This exciting new project allows us to explore new frontiers with our food offering whilst adding to the strength of the Flour Pot Bakery brand.
Could you tell us what bread means to you?
Bread to me is just like freshly roasted coffee – it is a daily necessity and part of my everyday routine. I also feel that bread – and I mean Real Bread – can be celebrated and enjoyed at any time of the day; eaten with breakfast, lunch or dinner! We feel that the time, care and attention is taken to produce our bread gives you so much more enjoyment than any supermarket loaf. This time spent is the secret to long fermented breads. It’s how we cultivate and enhance flavour, texture and complexity, this in turn, produces an amazing crust.
Brighton is a city with lots of cafés and bakeries, did you have any doubts at the start of Flour Pot?
Yes, I did and I still do! However, I am always striving to make things better and improve our business where possible. I think constantly asking questions of yourself and the business is critical to the success.
Where did the name come from, has it got anything to do with those famous Flour Pot Men?
No, it hasn’t, it came from necessity actually! We needed a way of launching the new range of baked goods we created for Small Batch coffee. It came about over a bottle of ice cold Corona, standing in the sunshine, at a pub, with Brad, the founder of Small Batch – thus The Flour Pot was born! The Flour Pot is also a little play on words, and instantly I could see huge potential for developing, adapting and expanding the brand, name and our unique coat of arms in the future.
You credit another local business, Small Batch Coffee, with supporting you early on. How important are links to other local businesses for you?
Local and community business are critical and absolutely essential for support and collectively we all form the lifeblood of this city – together we are stronger!
Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success (Henry Ford).
Flour Pot has been very successful in a relatively short time. What do you put that down to?
I attribute that first to the Flour Pot team, front and back of house. Our staff are making and serving the best quality product that we can and I emphasise the point of the quality because it feeds the enthusiasm and passion for what they do. We feel that we have gone from strength to strength, over the last five years and in addition to our products, we are now judged on the café environment, our service, our environmental commitments – just about everything!
How often do you get into the bakery, are your days of 3am starts behind you now?
I am at our Production Bakery every single day, predominantly now out of the enjoyment I get from being with the baking and kitchen teams. Granted, I no longer start at 3am but I arrive in time to make sure I catch the bakers when they leave their night shift and in time to see the chefs when they start their shifts. I also try to visit all the stores every week.
What is next for The Flour Pot bakery?
This year is all about the Seafront. It is a traditional Flour Pot in the day, which will become a Flour Pot Kitchen offer in the evening. We have a couple more surprises up our sleeve, all to be revealed later this year! Watch this space…