Lockdown with Hebe Konditori
Describe your quarantine experience so far in three words?
Slow, Sunny and uncertain
What’s your WFH set up, how’s it going for you?
I’m currently at my parents house in the countryside, just outside Leeds. I am very lucky to have been able to come here. My flatmate decided to leave London a couple of weeks before lockdown and I got a bit worried that I was going to have to get through lock down on my own. I packed as much baking equipment as possible but didn’t factor in the flour shortage. I will hopefully be able to start making cakes for orders soon though.
How have you managed to keep creative/ inspired in this time?
I’ve been taking inspiration from my surroundings. With all the spring flowers in bloom, I’ve been making lots of recipes using edible flowers and plants. The flour shortage also made me get a bit more creative with baking. It’s been quite refreshing.
I was into reading Greek mythology at the time and discovered that ‘Hebe’ the goddess of youth, fed Nectar and Ambrosia to the Greek gods and goddesses. So I thought that it made a nice link to cakes. Konditori is the word for a bakery that specialises in sweets, cakes and patisserie"
Have you managed to get your hands on flour during this time, is there a black market that I don’t know about?
I did recently, one of the local bakeries near here has been making home deliveries of baking ingredients. So if you’re still struggling to get baking supplies I’d recommend calling round your local bakeries and cafés to see if they’re selling ingredients.
I get really fed up with people asking me where does lazy of come from, however I really want to know how you have the name Hebe Konditori (sorry)?
I was into reading Greek mythology at the time and discovered that ‘Hebe’ the goddess of youth, fed Nectar and Ambrosia to the Greek gods and goddesses. So I though that it made a nice link to cakes. Konditori is the word for a bakery that specialises in sweets, cakes and patisserie as opposed to a bakery with also sells bread and other savoury items. In hindsight I think I should have probably gone for something that’s a bit easier to pronounce.
Your work is very visual, stylistically stunning, but your flavour combos are also drool worthy, where do you start with each bake and where do you end up?
It depends, I either start with an idea of how I want the cake to look, In that case I usually just use a cake recipe I know works and focus on the decorating or It starts with an ingredient and the design comes as the result of the ingredient.
Who and what is keeping you inspired right now?
I recently finished watching ‘Kantaro: The Sweet-tooth Salaryman’ It’s set in Japan and follows a businessman who bunks off work to go eat sweets and desserts from different dessert shops around Tokyo. It’s pretty mad but very inspiring. I’m also really obsessed with Korean Bakeries on Instagram. My favourites are @hajunggg and @mndcoffee . I’ve also been watching all the foreign language films I’m usually too tired to concentrate on, my top picks would be Juliet of the Spirits and Belle du Jour, they’re both very visually inspiring.
How did your Beautiful book, vegan cakes come about?
I was on a book shoot as a food stylist and the editor for the book we were shooting discovered my Instagram and then a few months later she asked if I would be interested in writing a book.
Do you have an ultimate vegan tip for baking?
Quit the aquafaba (it’s gross) and start using potato protein!
What is your favourite part of creating?
My favourite part is in the decorating. There’s something very therapeutic about piping butter cream.
Favourite ever commission or project?
Working with Lazy Oaf was one of my favourites, for sure. I’d been looking for an excuse to make a cat shaped cake for a while. I also love kitsch and retro food styling so it was a dream project. I also made some really fun cakes for events at London fashion week this year, it was really nice seeing my cakes as part of big sets and displays.
What are your tips for keeping it sane?
I’ve been trying to keep to a routine and I’ve been getting up and going for a walk or run first thing as it helps me stay somewhat motivated for the rest of the day.
What’s getting on your last nerve?
I don’t know if it’s getting on my nerves but I would very much like to see my hairdresser soon.
Top 5 things right now?
Long phone calls with friends
Spring in bloom
Sweet tooth Salaryman
Getting lots of sleep.