Meline-Nancy Paterson and her husband Scott welcomed their daughter Adalyn last January – three-and-a-half years after the launch of Meline’s home-based baking business, Feingebäck.
The difficulty of juggling the two – being a new parent (well, parenthood in general) and running a company – is something I can only imagine.
But Meline, 31, found the right balance early on.
Feingebäck, which launched in June 2020, is based in the couple’s Aberdeen home and offers a range of artisan pastries.
I asked Meline if we could go back to the very beginning to discuss what established her love of baking… and find out more about balancing her business with a baby.
Renowned Breton baker Richard Bertinet played role in igniting Meline’s love of artisan pastries
She said: “I can’t put my finger on one particular thing that made me want to start my own business, but I just developed a great passion, love and interest in creating these delicate artisan pastries.”
Meline has worked in the food industry for more than a decade, starting off with a part-time job as a kitchen assistant at a hostel, at the age of 16, while attending college.
“I also did some waitressing in a hotel before working in a care home as a kitchen assistant again, and working in supermarkets whilst at university in Taunton Somerset,” she added.
“But in 2015 I got my first opportunity to work at a bakery in the beautiful city in Bath, which back then was owned by [the] well-known Richard Bertinet.”
French-born, Richard is a Breton baker who bakes and teaches in Bath.
Meline started off at the bread section working with all different types of bread such as sourdough, brioche and focaccia.
“I then moved on to the pastry team which started my love and passion for the art of pastry making.”
Feingebäck: how the Aberdeen bakery came to be
Working with talented pastry chefs allowed Meline to gain skills and experience in the field.
She moved to the Granite City in 2018, working as a pastry chef for several years before establishing Feingebäck.
The name is inspired by her German heritage, and translates to viennoiserie (pastries).
“I love the delicate and detail in creating pastries, the fact you never stop learning and developing my skills and learning new ones on the way,” adds Meline.
“With every batch I make, I try to get the best product out of it and keep the quality the same each time. Also because I do love a pastry myself, I must say.”
The business is run solely by Meline, however, husband Scott helps out with wholesale deliveries.
Let’s talk products – including all butter croissants, pain au chocolat, cruffins and Danish pastries
In terms of the offering, there are classics like almond and all butter croissants and pain au chocolat, and pasteis de nata (cream pastries).
Cruffins (a hybrid of a croissant and a muffin) and Danish pastries are also among the range.
The flavours and variety change on a monthly basis.
“My pastries can be found in a few local cafes in Aberdeen city,” Meline said. “And customers can order on my website for collection.”
‘It’s not as straightforward as it was before, but I love being a mum’
Since having Adalyn, the 31-year-old has had to “work a bit differently,” which she initially expected.
She said: “I work when I can a few hours throughout the day and then other days in the evening when she’s gone to bed.
“It’s not as straightforward as it was before we had her, but I love being a mum and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Adalyn is a very funny, active and adventurous wee girl and is always on the move exploring everything around her.
“It’s just a matter of splitting up jobs now, making sure that Adalyn gets the attention and interaction she needs and, at the same time, really focusing on the pastry work when I’m doing it.”
Meline has significantly reduced her delivery days, too. Wholesale orders are delivered on Saturdays, while online orders can be collected on Thursdays.
She went on to say: “I hope to increase delivery days in the future once my daughter is a bit older.
“For now I love spending time with her as well as being able to do what I love, which is making pastries.
“My journey with Feingebäck has been nothing but fun, excitement and passion for what I do.
“I’m so very grateful and thankful to all of my customers for supporting my small business for the last three years.
“Without them it wouldn’t exist, so I just wanted to say a big thank you and I can’t wait to bake up another storm in 2024.”