Aberdeen is full of amazing bakeries at the moment. From sourdough to cinnamon buns, it seems the north-east knows a thing or two about producing affa fine bakes.
One person next in line to show their worth among the city’s baking scene is Meline Paterson, owner of home-baking pastry business Feingeback.
Feingeback, a German term which translates as viennoiseries or pastries in English, harks back to Meline’s German roots, where she grew up for much of her childhood.
Her family heritage lies in working with food and after learning her trade at the well-established Bertinet Bakery in Bath, Meline has now brought her skills to Aberdeen to the delight of Granite City locals.
Feingeback’s popular cronuts (a doughnut and croissant hybrid), as well as classic French pastries, can currently be found in selected shops across Aberdeen.
Online orders are also available and with continuing signs of success, Meline hopes to turn her passion for baking into her full-time career very soon.
We talked to Meline to find out more about Feingeback Pastries.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I lived in Germany until around 2005, when I moved to England with my family. My mum wanted to move here for a better life and more job opportunities.
Most of my family has always worked in food; my nan worked in the kitchen at a restaurant, my aunt was a qualified butcher and my late mum was also a chef working for the Salvation Army.
I think I’ve always grown up with food – and of course, German people love their food anyway!
After secondary school, I studied media makeup for film and TV at college and then university. But when I finished uni, I kind of knew that the media makeup industry wasn’t going to be for me.
I was always doing various part-time jobs in kitchens or working in food in some form during my studies and it wasn’t until around a year after university that I got a really big break at Bertinet Bakery in Bath.
So, I moved there and worked with them for two and a half years before I met my husband online, which was why I moved to Scotland.
How important were the skills you learned at the bakery you worked with in Bath?
When I got the opportunity in Bath, I took it and I loved it. I learned most of my skills at Bertinet Bakery working with some really talented bakers and pastry chefs.
I started off in the bread section on nightshifts working with sourdough breads, which was what the bakery specialised in. It was a great experience, but also hard work (nightshifts are not for me!).
But when I had the chance to move to the pastry team, that’s where I really found my passion. Pastry is all about very precise ways of baking. I love a challenge, so I feel like I just gravitated towards this more.
What inspired you to start Feingeback?
I’d worked in a patisserie shop in Aberdeen for a while. Whilst I was there, I started thinking about how I’d like to run my own business one day. It just sparked from there, I guess.
Like most new businesses today, I started Feingeback during lockdown and my first sale was in June 2020. At the beginning, I was only selling products once a month as I was still working a full-time job on the side. It went really well when I first opened up. People were interested and it was something new.
It was also nerve-wracking to have the added responsibility of running my own business, but I loved it.
Now, I work a part-time job alongside my own business, which feels like a better balance. I have much more time to put into the pastries.
Where does all the baking magic happen?
My working area is my home kitchen. At the moment, customers can order online and pick up their pastries from my home address in Aberdeen.
I also have some wholesale customers around Aberdeen. I supply JK Fine Foods as well as Rosemount Market, Wander & Graze in Chapelton and a few others lined up soon.
I’m still in a growing stage right now, but with other businesses coming on board I think I’m going to get a lot busier. This will be a challenge since it’s only me baking, but I’m sure I’ll be fine.
I never try to take too much on – I want to make sure that everything I do is the best that it can be.
What are some of your star bakes?
I think the most popular would have to be the cronuts. It’s basically a hybrid between a croissant and a doughnut.
One of my friends inspired me to give them a go. It took a few attempts and tweaks to get them to where they are now, but I think they’re the most popular.
I change the flavours every month to tie in with the seasons and this month’s flavour is blueberry cheesecake. They’re quite a treat as they’re very sweet and have a lot of filling.
People like to see the classic pastries like pain au chocolat and croissants as well and I’ve had great feedback from customers.
I like to have a mix of these as well as some more fancy pastries. I think my favourite would have to be my croissants or the pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tart).
I’m also planning on adding some more German elements like stollen when it comes to Christmas time.
What’s special about Feingeback?
For me, I never stop learning. Every time I make pastries, I learn something different.
I come across challenges and I try to always improve my pastries with every bake – I just love doing them. All of my passion goes into them and I always aim for the best product that I can.
I just want to grow the business organically. I’d like to make it my full-time job and grow a living out of it, so I’m working hard to get a good customer base – whether that’s wholesale or direct, I’m still figuring out what’s best.
It would be great to have a shop one day, but with that comes a lot more responsibilities. So, for now, growing a bit bigger to become full-time would be perfect.
To find out more or to place an order, visit Feingeback Pastries online.