Time for the second of our profiles for this years’ Award Winners, Vintage Afternoon Teas, winner of Best Vintage Event Supplier.
Gwyneth Brock, owner, baker and vintage lover, talks to us about teapots and cake slices.
I set up Vintage Afternoon Teas in 2010 after catering for a special birthday of my own and a tea party for some mums at school. It was a lot of fun and it seems there is a market for other people to enjoy tea in their own homes too. I was a good home baker but decided to go back to college in 2011-12 to train as a pastry chef, but the afternoon tea parties have carried on throughout. Why VINTAGE tea parties? I’ve WORN vintage since my teens, but I’m newer to vintage china; I was given a few trios when my gran Edna moved from out of her flat and the collection just sort of grew from there so the business and the name became obvious.
Vintage Afternoon Teas has taken quite a few twists and turns along the way, from afternoon tea parties for all sorts of occasions and numbers, a secret tea room (I open up approximately monthly in my home, the secret being where my home is – we tell guests the day beforehand – and we’ve done a fair few in other secret locations too) to vintage china hire (still renting out over 100 place-settings of vintage china plus a smaller collection of retro pieces) to crafternoon tea parties with French Knots Craft Studio (tea and sewing) and pop-up tea rooms for events. It’s still mainly me doing the baking, the washing up, the deliveries, the website and most other things, but I work with guest pastry chefs when I need to and have a small posse of waiters and waitresses to call on, and I’ve worked and collaborated with lots of other people on and off the “vintage scene” in Manchester which has been really enjoyable. We have a really loyal, lovely and growing bunch of customers.
So here’s to more teas in 2014, possibly not more china (my other half might go on strike if I bring another cake stand into the house), definitely more working together and collaborations in the future (I’m very friendly, just ask!) and a book I’m writing with a friend… just need a publishing deal and we’re sorted!