Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Uniquely Yours



Until today I really didn't have any idea where I was headed with "jintrinsique".

For about a year my husband has been telling me to start a blog. I didn't even really know what they were. I did a search for wedding cake blogs & didn't come up with anything interesting, so I forgot about it. A few weeks ago I was reading the yahoo news & there was a link for a blog called 'NEW YORK HACK'. I decided to check it out & found myself going there every day. On days when she didn't post I started to search for other interesting blogs. I found quite a few!

My husband interjects again, "Why don't you do a blog for the shoppe? I've been telling you to for a year now!"

I reply, "No, I don't think so...what would I write about? I don't have the time to spend on the internet anyway."
Just in case, I thought to myself, I'll pick a blog name & fill out the profile even though I might never do anything about it.

And then we had one of the slowest weeks I've ever known. Practically zero orders. So, out of pure boredom (and total procrastination because I should have been cleaning:-P) I started scanning in pics, reading & writing blog entries.

In a little over 2 weeks I've received sooo many comments & e-mails about my pics & pastry that today I decided to stop being anonymous. (!) I will keep posting the pics, random pastry shoppe thoughts, recipes here & there, & whatever else you want me to. You can ask questions! I will do everything in my power to help you out with any cooking conundrums you might have.

...So...

Hello, my name is Jennifer & I run Uniquely Yours Pastry Shoppe LLP in Manitowoc, WI with my Mom/partner Audrey, & my cute British husband, David (he's going to kill me when he reads this!!!) We've been in business since April of 1994.

.....FLASHBACK.....

I had been training with a pastry chef (I was 19) in Maryland when I realized that I did not enjoy:
a)the production aspect-making the same thing every day,
b)the area I was living in-lots of crime
c)the roof under which I was living-looong story, awkward conditions &
d)way too many drugs/alcohol in the restaurant business for my liking-I was not comfortable with the fact that I had to constantly watch my cappuccino for fear that someone would 'slip' something into it

Back home I came, not knowing what I would do. I became temporarily occupied when my parents inherited a 2-story brick home from my great uncles. It was in serious need of cleaning & painting so they could put it on the market. What a state it was in! Nothing had been thrown away for over 50 years. It took us nearly a year to bring the house up to par.
On the market it went, with me still wondering what I was going to do with my life. Months passed & there wasn't one offer on the house. It didn't look good. My Mother knew something had to be done because they couldn't afford to keep paying for all the utilities much longer. (My Dad had lost his job of 20+ years. Another victim of age discrimination.)
I was dying to try out all the skills I had picked up working at the restaurant. I wanted to suggest to my Mom that we do something with the empty house, but I didn't know how to break the subject. (She is an AWESOME cook & baker, BTW.) Little did I know that the same thoughts were going through her mind at the same time!

Finally, one day when we were at the house, I just mentioned what I was thinking. She told me she'd been thinking the same thing. YAY!!! We just needed to decide what, exactly we would open as.
We called in the local food inspector to ask what would need to be done so we could be licensed. This was important to both of us, we wanted to do it right. We also decided we didn't want a lot of waste; no throwing away product that didn't sell at the end of a work day. We came up with the idea of 'baking to order', where people call in to order what they want us to make for them. That way the sweets would always be fresh & they could pick it up whenever they needed it.

.....FLASHFORWARD.....

Here we still are, baking to order, & more popular than ever! Although now, we do have 'Open House' days 1 to 3 times per month, planned to accommodate all the major holidays, where we are open regular hours with hundreds of mouth-watering pastries available to you with no need to order ahead. You would not believe the cult following we have. People either try to keep us a secret (their own little hide-away) or they tell everyone!
Take note: I like when you tell everyone! :-)

My baking philosophy: "I would never sell anything to anyone that I wouldn't eat myself, & I am VERY picky!" We don't use any chemicals or preservatives. Everything is made from scratch. I use organics whenever I can find them. Currently our bread flour, all purpose flour, coconut, raisins, & oats are ALL organic. I only buy grade AA unsalted butter, real cream, farm fresh eggs, European chocolate, cocoa & preserves.
I feel that you don't need a lot of ingredients to make something good. You only need a few really really great ingredients & a true love of creation to bring them together.

4 Responses to “Uniquely Yours”

kiki said...

good on you Jenny

nobody feels quite safe with an anonymous blogger

i'm going to have to visit your shop now when i'm in the states!!

doc slm said...

Can you post pictures of your shoppe? I try to picture it in my head and now that I know the history, I'd love to "see" it.
And I'll take a slice of the flourless cake...and a cappucino.

Real said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog.
Umm, cakes. Diabitic comma her I come.

Now that I know your name and where your store is, there's no more need to cyberstalk you! :) I'll just be a friendly visitor and often to your online store. (Let us know if you ever plan to fill mail orders!!)

CP