Ashley: I have Hollie Fraser joining me today. She’s the owner of punk rock pastries in Burnaby, British Columbia. It is not your traditional pastry shop. They bake cakes meant to be the topic of conversation. I highly recommend them for Halloween or a bachelor or bachelorette parties. Thank you for joining us Hollie
Hollie: Hi, thanks for having me.
PUNK ROCK PASTRIES IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL PASTRY SHOP
A: Can you tell me a little bit about Punk Rock Pastries and sort of the vibe that people can expect when they come into your shop?
H: So Punk Rock Pastries, as you said is not your normal bakery at all. We pretty much started this place so that you could go to something different. Every bakery around town has the same things, the same eclairs, the same tarts. I wanted something completely out of the box. Something a little bit crazy, just like me. So when you first enter Punk Rock Pastries, you see a whole bunch of posters and band memorabilia. We’ve got a wall that’s signed by all these amazing artists, and then you check out the cases and it’s stuff that you’re not going to see in any other bakery. We have a lot of genitalia things, so we have some really crazy, weird cookies we have especially around Halloween time. It is just insane and mind blowing people to the come in. They pretty much go quiet because I don’t know where to look first. It’s like the head just spins around because they want to look at everything, but they try to focus on one thing.
A: It’s lots of bright colors. It’s a very, very fun environment and all ages can go into your shop, right? There’s not any sort of like must be over this age to see a penis cookie?
H: We do recommend that people under the age of 16 with a parent and we don’t really have any kids come in the store anyway, like by themselves. So it is more of a mature based shop, but anyone’s allowed in, as you know, there’s no discrimination or any age, you can come in the old young. We don’t care.
A: There is a variety of products I definitely know that you have the penis and the vagina stuff, but you also have regular, fun shapes doughnut or all of the different things that you would find in a traditional pastry shop. It’s not all necessarily unconventional.
H: Yeah, we definitely have a whole bunch and a whole range of different products. It’s not just a genital products. We have different donuts that are topped with amazingly things like our last menu, it just changed. We had a lemon raspberry doughnut, which had an actual lemon tart on top. We have a whole bunch of cookie pies that we have a whole bunch of different cookies. We’ve got a smore’s cupcake so it’s got a whole bunch of like toasted marshmallow on it. It’s not just you come in and it’s only adults only store all that. We have like a range of products for everyone.
A: How often do you change your menu?.
H: So we change our menu every three months. Mostly because we get bored of doing the same thing and people want to experience different products when you go into a store. So we change it up every three months. This way, everybody gets to experience most of the menu, if they come back once a month and then they get to try something new when they come in store again.
CANCEL CULTURE VS THE PENIS SHAPED COOKIE
A: I love the fact that you kind of never know what to expect and it gives you a lot of that variety. Now I saw that you made headline news. There was a woman trying to essentially get you canceled, the good old cancel culture that we live in right now, over was it a penis cookie?
H: It was a penis as cookie. Somebody reported us to the city and the city bylaws official came by one day and they said, you’re doing all the right things. We have a sign on the window. It says you must be with a parent if you’re under the age of 16. Also says we do have adult themed stuff in the store and we’ve had this since day one because we’ve been doing these since day one and yeah, the city came by and said, we’re doing the right thing. Maybe just put it up on your website. And I said, it is actually on the website and they like okay, well maybe just put it up on your social medias. They were having a big giggle about it and I was kind of laughing cause I thought it was a little bit ridiculous over a penis shaped cookie. So I just went on my social media was just having a giggle and couldn’t help myself with the laughing and the video actually went completely viral and it got picked up by the local news. It also actually went worldwide. I got a phone call from my dad in Australia and he’s like you’re on the news. And I’m like, what news? And he’s like the Australia news you’re on it. I was really a massive shock, but I’m going to have to say it completely backfired on this person that tried to cancel us.
A: It’s just going to say sometimes things like that seem scary or it could be threatening to your business in the moment, sometimes those things do end up being the greatest gift and I’m sure that “Karen” is stewing in it. I don’t see the problem with it as a mom. I’ve always tried to teach my daughter about proper anatomy and the proper names of things that I just like at the end of the day, it’s not in my opinion, that big of a deal.
H: Yeah, no, like a hundred percent. I have a five-year old and he is in the bakery with me, like all the time, and he knows what, he has as well and what other people have, he knows, we’ve told him since, you know he asked. I’m completely open with my kid about that. We kind of use it as a learning experience and we’ve actually supplied cookies to sexual education people some schools and stuff like that because back in the day they used to use the banana. So why not use a cookie?!
A: Exactly. I think that the banana and the cucumber are setting people up for failure, or it is just sort of a scary idea. Whereas I think if they have a cookie they can see something that’s a little bit more realistic. I like the fact too that whether you are doing things around boobs or genitals, it’s a wide variety of colors, shapes sizes. It’s not sort of a one mold fits all.
H: We are all made differently. So we wanted to include that with our pastries and our cookies and everything because not everybody is the same, we are all different, and I think that’s the best way to include it. We can’t just have one shade fits all.
MUST SEE PRP AT HALLOWEEN
A: Exactly. I know we kind of touched on Halloween and you do a fantastic spread at Halloween. I’m always so excited to see what creations you’ve come up with next. Is there a certain season or a certain thing that you like baking the most?
H: So Halloween is definitely my go to time. There’s not really anything I love making the most. When it comes to Halloween time it’s the sculpted cakes are allowed to get a little bit more creepy. So I think that for me, I get to sit down and make something that is completely disgusting, but absolutely realistic. I think that is so much fun. We create anything. A customer will come to me and say I’ve got this surgeon and he specializes in amputees. Can you make a severed leg cake? And I’ll be like, no problem. But then I sit down and research it and find all the ligaments, the bones, everything. I think that for me is super fun. I’m a horror fanatic, I think Halloween is definitely my jam
A: I love Halloween too.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
A: How did you discover your passion for baking and that this was something that you wanted to do?
H: So I actually grew up in a bakery. My dad was a baker and he owned a bakery in Australia. He is a single dad. So I would go to the bakery with him, like some nights and I’d end up actually sleeping under the bench. Back in those days, babysitters were rare I actually learned everything from him and he gave me the passion to do that. I decided to go to culinary school and I became a qualified chef. I just didn’t really have a passion for cooking as much as I did baking. So I went back and did my patisserie certificate and then just fell in love with it. I got top marks at school and just loved it so much. So I just kept going.
A: Why did you decide to build Punk Rock Pastries here (in Canada) instead of in Australia?
H: Well, I had met my husband here and we had a life here. We were originally going to move but this space just popped up. We were so sick of running other people’s companies. One day, my husband just says, you’ve got to just do your own thing. He was coming home from work and where Punk Rock Pastries is was up for sale and he took a photo and sent it to me and he said, it’s time, this is a sign. You’ve got to go for it. So we just went for it and it was like absolutely insane. The timing wasn’t great. It was definitely, crazy of me to do it. I wanted to start it here and see if it would work. Vancouver is so open about a lot of things that if I opened it in the tiny little town where my dad lives, there’s no way but here we have thrived and people loved the idea of a store where you can just go in and you can be yourself. You can be that weird person with the colored hair, the tattoos piercings and this is why I opened the place. So people didn’t have to worry about the way they looked when they went to a store or who they were. I find that there are some stores where, you’d go into and you’re feeling like you’re judged by the way that you look or the way that you dress and me being a person with tattoos and face tattoos and stuff like that I always felt like that, but I didn’t care that I wanted other places where other people like me that were weird felt like I could come be at home kind of thing.
A: I think that where you guys are located, cause you’re kind of right on the cusp of Burnaby and then heading right into Vancouver on Hastings.
H: Yeah. Well literally on Capitol Hill. So right on the very top of the hill, like right on the border. I think it’s perfect location.
A: Yeah. So you get like the suburban feel well and you’re also getting all of the city’s likers and a cheesy way of putting it that. It is one of those things where people do want to not worry about whether they’re wearing, sweat pants and a tank top to go into somewhere, or whether they’re business casual, because there are a lot of places in the city where there is that vibe. It’s like, if you have your messy bun, and you’re just running out to grab a cupcake before taking your kids off to whatever it’s like, you don’t want to have to worry about having to get dressed up just to run into a shop. So it is nice to have that like relaxing feel where you can get fancy foods without the fancy vibe.
H: Yeah, exactly. We are a judge free zone. We don’t care who you are, what you look like. We accept everybody, whatever they want to be. I think that’s the best thing because like there’s days where I wear my pajamas to work because I’m a mom with a five-year-old and it’s hard. I don’t have always have time to brush my hair or put makeup on, being able to come to a place like this is just refreshing. I don’t have to worry.
CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE STAFF BECOME FAMILY
A: It must be so fantastic to be able to have a boss that has that vibe, because I know that’s something that a lot of people are struggling with, especially as they’re being forced to go from working at home, back into an office where having that environment where your boss understands, it doesn’t matter if you’re decked out or, whatever to have that flexibility.
H: The one thing I always say is that my staff come first. I always wanted to open a place where I was always going to be understanding. We have a staff members that have kids and if they can’t make it in because the kid’s sick. No worries. I totally understand or there’s days where I can’t be here and my staff can’t be here. So we just close. There’s days where it snows and we can’t get here so we close like the staff and their safety and the health, that always comes first in my books because without them Punk Rock Pastries wouldn’t exist. They are the heart and soul behind this business. If I don’t have my staff, then you know, there’s no treats, so we always we’re taking care of our staff as much as we can because at the end of the day they are what matter.
A: I do understand that not all industries maybe have that option, but I do think so many more of them need to have that flexibility and that mindset because it really does make a difference. I know, especially while some businesses are struggling to retain staff, when you have a boss, that’s a human and understand that life happens I think it makes such a huge difference building that family within your business.
H: Yeah, I completely agree. At the end of they were a family here and family comes first. I’ve always said that to my staff it’s like from day one, when they start, if you’ve got any problems, if there’s issues, anything, come to me, you’re not going to be judged. We’ll figure it out. If you can’t work certain days, we’ll figure it out. If you’ve got family commitments, we’ll figure it out. Don’t worry because you know, their lives matter. This is just a job at the end of the day.
A: Which is a really, really refreshing way to look at it because especially as parents, it’s always that hard balance to find what works and, kids, I feel like as soon as you find like that perfect balance, they shift, do you know what I mean? Whatever phase your kids are in all of a sudden they’re in something different. Especially the last two years, I can just imagine, dealing with the in-school versus out of school and just everything that’s happened with the pandemic.
THE MYTH OF THE WORK AND HOME LIFE BALANCE
H: Yeah, it’s been a little bit crazy. That’s forsure. And even myself, juggling being a mom, being a business owner, being a wife, I feel like I’ve got so many roles on my head. It’s really hard to find that work-life balance. So we try and like bring that to Punk Rock Pastries as much as possible
A: I personally feel like in a lot of ways, the idea of balance is such bullshit because there is really no way of doing it all and perfectly the way that we would want it. I do think that a lot of making everything work or finding that perfect balance really falls on the mom’s shoulders, because I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard a man get asked how he balances it all. I do think it’s one of those things where it’s more of a society telling us that we have to do it all where however we’re doing it. And however, it works. As long as our kids are like fed and happy and healthy at the end of the day. That’s all we can ask for.
H: Yeah, definitely like in, just in the last few weeks, like I’ve had a complete shift, like for me, I’ve realized that my family needs me more than my business. I’ve just given up a few things. I’ll say, nope I’m not doing that. No, I’m not doing this. My family times comes this time. I turned my phone off now. Cause it is so hard running a business and being a mom and being a wife and trying to do it all. I stretch myself in the last two years way too thin, like to the point where I was not eating properly, I was losing weight. I was stressing my hair, starting to turn gray. Hence why I keep dyeing my hair. I was doing all these things and just in the last two weeks, I’ve sat down, I’m going why am I doing this? Why am I pushing myself to this point? Like my kid is seeing me stressed and not happy. I’d rather be happy, doing fun things with him. Not worrying as much, like at the end of the day, I really want to be with my son and it’s all about balance, but there is no balance. It’s all up in the air. It’s all chaotic, but I’ve been trying my hardest to get it and make it work.
A: I think when we learn what we can say no to I think some of that pressure does dissipate a little bit and I think even just from a business perspective, the things that you say no to and when everything else around doesn’t crumble I feel like then you learn what works and what doesn’t. I can just imagine over the last two, three years, what COVID has done to small businesses, especially in the food industry and the pivots that you have had to make.
H: Oh, the last two years have been absolutely hell because we opened and we were only 10 months old when COVID hit. I lost my staff members. I actually was running this place by myself. It was insane, like absolutely insane. There was days where I’d sit on the floor and I was crying because I didn’t know if we’d make it through. I put out this post cause I’m always honest with my staff and I’m always honest with my followers and all my customers, everything that I was like, I don’t think we’re going to survive this. We had some people who loved us reach out to us and help us survive. So we learned to pivot and we got ourselves around. We survived by the skin of our teeth like we could pay the bills, but I was working from midnight to 6:00 PM and like every single day. It was just insane. I would never want to do that again.
A: No and to do that for two years, it’s no wonder why all of a sudden now you’re reaching that breaking point.
H: Yes, I’ve reached burn out multiple times for the last few years. I just don’t want to experience that again. It’s not fun for anybody to experience, let alone, a mum trying to do it. It’s you just want to give your kid attention and you’re so tired that you just don’t have the energy or these horrible.
INCORPORATING SELF-CARE INTO THE DAILY ROUTINE
A: And I really feel like as moms, we forget that we have to prioritize ourselves first. For the majority of us, we’re not good at doing that, that it really is what do I need? Whether it’s do I need to go into the closet and scream at the top of my lungs for 10 minutes before I try to be a happy mom, does it mean that I do like breathing rituals or whatever self-care looks like for you prior to having to take that role in it? It’s so impossible feeling at times, but I think that’s the one thing that moms do need to realize is that we also have to put ourselves on the work, home, family balance that we have to prioritize ourselves.
H: I agree I think we’ve pushed ourselves to the breaking point to make everybody else happy but at the end of the day are we happy? I got to the point where I actually ended up scheduling 10 minutes into my day, no matter what, I was just to sit to breathe and just to be. Not think about anything else and it’s just 10 minutes and I do it when I get into the office in the morning, before I answer all the emails, I take 10 minutes to myself, I have my coffee and I’ll just sit. Quiet for like 10 minutes, I put a timer on and everything, because if I don’t do it at the end of the day, I feel exhausted. Just that 10 minutes helps.
A: I think that’s a great way to incorporate it because sometimes it, it does take actually setting that reminder in your phone. I need to check on myself. I need to do this for myself. That almost makes it easier to follow through with it.
H: I think reminders even if it’s post-it notes, like I’ve got one on my computer that one of my staff members wrote for me and it says, you’ve got this, I’ve got little post-it notes around, but I reminder on my phone, I’ve got affirmations on the board. I have these little reminders everywhere, you’ve got to take care of you. At the end of the day, if you’re not a hundred percent happy, something’s gotta change and it’s yeah, it’s a hard change. It definitely is. It took me ages to be able to actually physically realize, okay, I’ve got to stop this and I’ve got to change because if I don’t I’m gonna burn out and that’s just not the best thing for me.
A: No, but whatever works to have those reminders , I think is, is great. I think that we all do need to have those reminders that you’re doing your best and your best is awesome. People love you and flock to your store so I do think that speaks volumes. So even if you did make small changes in your business, it does seem like that part of it is a little less rocky than potentially a burnout from having to do it all.
H: Yeah, exactly. I think because from day one of being open and honest with my customers, I’ve told them we booked out, I can’t physically take on anymore or I’m having a burnout I’m really sorry, I’m too stressed. I’m going to close down for a couple of days we’ll come back when we’re refreshed. I think saying that as well, people are like, oh, okay they are human. They’re not just a business. We’re not a Tim Horton’s, we’re not a McDonald’s, we can’t just pump your orders out. I don’t want to lose the quality of my products. So, you know, the me time, the mental health days that I think are a hundred percent needed and a lot more people need to do this with their small businesses, because it seems to be working great for us. And it just helps with staff being super happy, our customers being super happy. There’s only a few days where I screw things up and that’s usually because I’ve got too much on my plate and then I go, okay, got to stop now.
A: Well then I think that that’s life. I think we all make mistakes and screw up and we just kind of have to give ourselves the pass that sometimes shit happens.
H: Oh yeah. A hundred percent.
SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES
A: I think with COVID too, I feel like with say the supply issues alone and people being stuck at home and kind of realizing, oh maybe that, that store that I went to, I thought was local, but really is not as local since they don’t have anything within their stores. So they were probably ordering from longer away, which made people focus more on businesses within their communities. So I think that’s maybe why so many people have a soft spot for the fact that you are open and honest, but also that you’re a small business within their community and that they want to see small businesses survive since so many of them didn’t, especially in Vancouver over the last couple of years.
H: Yeah like even though we struggled through the pandemic, any money that we could or anything that, you know, if I had extra time, I would just donating my time to make cookies, make anything to the local community, doing stuff for frontline workers, because they needed a little boost because they were getting swarmed and so we were ending up donating like 150 to 500 cookies. Once a month, we were doing a thousand dollars donation to local charities or food banks stuff like that. Anybody who needed it. We were helping them out as much as we could because we’re all in this together. I really needed to show people love for supporting us. So we were giving back as much as we could. I think that at the end of the day, kept me smiling as well, knowing that I was doing something good for the community around me because they have supported us so much. I’m so grateful for all of our customers and all the people that came in and ordered online for us, saw how much work I was putting into this business and didn’t want us to fail and they ultimately kept us going. So it kind of hurts my heart in a way that, I was doing so much and they were supporting it and it’s just amazing.
A: It’s so fantastic to see when people really do have that community spirit and that love for each other because it is one of those things that whether we are suffering, like you said it can bring us joy and it can bring us happiness to still help other people whenever possible I think that is really what it’s all about.
IT’S PUNK TO BE KIND
H: Yeah. It’s like we use the slogan it’s punk to be kind and that’s at the end of the day, just be kind to people , help your fellow humans, it makes me smile at the end of the day, giving back and it’s paying it forward
A: What a good role model for your child to be able to see that too, is that we help everybody whenever we can.
H: We literally, me and my husband have taught him that it is, do the right thing, be nice to people, you know? The one thing he tells us that he doesn’t like about school, is bullies so we’ve been trying to teach him about bullies and bullying is not cool. He’s only five and the stuff that he understands at five years old like is insane like I never, at five, I don’t think I understood why people would lash out. I didn’t understand really kindness and stuff like that.
A: We played in the playground and we were really oblivious. I think we’re about the same age born in the eighties, raised in the nineties. It is, really remarkable to see how different our kids’ generation is like granted mine’s in high school. For the most part, seeing the discussions about mental health, seeing the discussions about friendship, all of that stuff really does start in kindergarten. It is so mind-boggling because they’re like little sponges and they just absorb it. I think they are a much kinder and wiser generation than we were.
H: Oh, definitely.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR PRP?
A: What’s next for punk rock pastries.
H: Oh, I’m going to take a holiday. Actually we’re not a hundred percent sure. I’ve been sitting down and trying to work out where we go from here right now, but just going to roll with the punches and stay as we are but next year, we’re looking at possibly getting a food truck or a second location. We’re not a hundred percent sure right now. It all depends on how the rest of the year goes and right now, catching up and training new staff so I can step away and build the business a little bit more. The staff I have on now are absolutely amazing. We went from me and one other staff member to we now have eight staff members which is really crazy. So we’re just building the brand. We’ve been doing a lot of stuff for movies. So we have a lot of our products in movies and in TV shows and doing like private little catering functions and stuff like that. Next year, I think after I have a bit of a holiday and go back to Australia, then we’ll probably go from there. We either look to a second location or just expanse. I’d love to expand a little bit more like a bigger space would be great.
A: I think Punk Rock Pastries is one of those businesses that I would love to see more locations of and a food truck would be such a fantastic idea because there’s so many different events whether it’s like the Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival that goes into like the Chilliwack and Abbotsford but also throughout Vancouver. Being a part of the movies is this such a unique, fun idea. I could see your cakes and things like that being such a great addition. I can see that being so perfect for your brand and being in Vancouver, there’s so much filming around.
H: Yeah, we’ve done a whole bunch for Disney and Nickelodeon and we’ve done whole stuff for Netflix. I think it’s insane. I never thought my stuff would be on screen let alone my cakes on there. It’s it’s crazy. I think that’s definitely hit a goal for me. I was like, oh wow. You know, like we were on the Food Network and we won from there. People have approached us about having our own reality show. I don’t know if I want to camera a following me around 24/7. I don’t know if I can handle that. I think a second location is definitely on the books. As long as this year goes fine, then next year we might look into that but I would love to do something a little bit further out because you know, we do have the city and stuff like that. I’d like to go a little bit further out so the people in Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Langley and stuff can get stuff out that way, because we have so many people that ring us or they drive from Abbotsford and Chilliwack, we’ve had people from Hope. We had people from the islands last week and they just came out to go to Punk Rock Pastries. Every time they do that I end up putting free stuff in their box because that was a long bloody drive.
A: Well, as somebody from Abbotsford, I would definitely love to see something closer to suburbia.
BEING ON THE BIG BAKE ON THE FOOD NETWORK
A: Can you tell us a little bit about being on the Food Network and how that happened and what you participated on?
H: So we were on the show, the Big Bake. We were on the first season, we were on the Halloween edition and we just got a phone call one day asking if we’d like to be on. We ended up having a zoom call and they chatted to us and stuff and then we were flown out to Toronto to film. It was surreal. I think one of my life goals was to either be on Top Chef or to be on the Food Network. So I’ve definitely completed a goal there. But we were to build Jack-O-Slantern cake and it was insane. Nothing was going right for us that day. Super hot day outside, super hot in the kitchen, seven ovens or eight ovens going, there was no air conditioning, just fans. We were working with products we hadn’t really worked with before because we couldn’t get the products we were used to working with, like modeling chocolate and stuff. So I our whole cake fell. At the end of the day, like when we were in there, I was just crying. This is ridiculous. I’m going to go on TV and my cakes fallen over and I feel like a failure. The producer came to me while we were filming cause I put my head under the tap just to try and calm this down. She said to me just put anything out there, make it small. Do anything you can, it doesn’t have to be finished. You just got to put something out. I was just like, nah screw that. I’m going to finish the damn cake that I came to do. So I had an hour left and me and my teammates were chatting and we ended up getting it done and still to this day I hate that cake because I think every flaw in it and I hate it so much. Everyone’s like, oh it’s great. The best thing was we got to destroy the cake because it was just, you know, at the end of the day it was not going to go anywhere. But I was a backstage before they were announcing the winner and I was just like can I just go home? We’re not winning. I’m just done. I was like, I know I want to be there for filming, but I’m just I had enough. I was just like the cake is horrible. We’re not going to win. The guy next to me is going to win. His cake was amazing. It was perfect. We went on and they gave out the feedback of what everybody’s cakes and, they went to the team next to me oh your cake lacked flavor or something like that I can’t actually remember what they said. And then one of the other cakes was it wasn’t Halloweeny enough or something. Then they got to ours and it was like the only problem they had with it was that it wasn’t slanted enough, like, cause it’s meant to be on an angle. In my head I was just like, that’s it like hang on. Was that? The cake sucks and I’m just like, I forgot that we were mic’d and under my breath, I’m going oh this is ridiculous. Just call the winners so I can go effing home, like, no, I’m just like, I was sorry disappointed with myself. So when they called our name and told us that we won, I ultimately like screamed holy shit at the top of my lungs and started crying. Cause I was just like this is bullshit. There’s no way I won. I was like, can you say it again and I don’t think, the people with the show, I don’t think they realize how much this meant to us, because we were struggling to open Punk Rock Pastries at this time and we were doing fundraisers and we needed the money to come through because there was so many problems with the building and we had to update them. All of the plumbing in the building had to be redone. Electricity. And all the quotes, went up like 10, 20 grand. So we didn’t have the money to fully open Punk Rock Pastries. So winning this gave us the money to fully open it was literally crazy. It’s definitely an experience. So yeah, totally fun though.
WANTING TO CREATE PERFECTION
A: I love when things like that come full circle where it was like, almost meant to be for you guys to have that experience and win so that you could create your company. Do you find that when you’re designing things in general, that you’re very critical of your designs?
H: I’m always I’m my worst critic. A hundred percent. Yeah. I don’t like something until it’s fully done completed, and there’s something wrong with the cake, even if it’s the most tiniest, like little like mark that I can see I’m not happy with it. That cake though in particular, I was pissed because it’s not my best work. Some of my best work is stuff that’s taken me hours and I obviously didn’t have hours. I’m definitely my own worst critic when it comes to this but at the end of the day, when I look at a cake and it is completely finished and if it’s just that one, mark, I’ll be like okay well I know better for next time. The cake looks great. The customer’s happy. I’m always judging myself. I can do better but I know like now that there are things that aren’t going to be perfect and it’s at the end of the day it’s cake, they’re going to be eating it. It’s not going to look extremely realistic. It’s not going to be perfect. So I I’ve kind of come to the fact with that it’s gotta be cake at the end of the day.
A: Well, they’re letting yourself off the hook because nothing’s really perfect.
H: Nothing is, especially when it comes to your working with sugar, flour and butter and those things that go against you the heat the elements. If it’s too cold, it wont work. It’s too hot, it won’t work. If it’s humid, it won’t work. You’ve just got to give yourself a break at the end of the day.
A: Well, and I’m sure the things that you would perceive this flaws, the person that’s receiving them would never in a million years see like the little mark that you were talking about or the design because they are so intricate and they do look like for the ones that are meant to, they do look so realistic. Even just thinking of like the severed arms and things like that it really does look so lifelike that I think that’s such a fantastic skill. At the end of the day again, it’s like you said, it’s the balance of letting yourself off the hook.
H: Yeah. I’d look back at cakes that I’ve done, you know, five, six years ago. I looked at cakes that I do now, and there is change in my art has skyrocketed and now today’s cakes look so realistic compared to cakes back then because I didn’t have those techniques. I didn’t know those techniques. I’m always constantly learning new things to be able to do like the cakes and products. I think at the end of the day, I’m always learning. So I can’t be like, so mean to myself. I’m going to let myself off the hook every now and then.
A: Yeah, exactly. You could only know what you know, in that moment, but it is also so fun I would imagine to be able to look back and say this is where I was two, three years ago and this is where I am now to be able to see that growth and actually have like the timeline of your skills improving or changing.
H: No, some of the cakes that I first have done or what a horror, like horrible, horrible but like, compared to some of the stuff that I’m doing now, like with the sculpting, it’s insane. It’s amazing. It’s like watching your kids work when they first draw a stick figure. to where the point they’re doing realism, it’s just amazing to watch.
A: Well, and like you said too, at the end of the day, even if they don’t necessarily look a certain way. I’m sure they taste fantastic then and that they taste fantastic now.
PRODUCTS THAT YOU WON’T FIND ANYWHERE ELSE
H: Oh yeah. I’ve got all my recipes down to a T now I even make my staff sign confidentiality agreements so that they don’t give out our recipes cause I think that’s one thing that helped us on the Big Bake was recipes our buttercream is something that I invented like a few years ago because I traveled through Germany and Paris and I got to taste all the different buttercream and stuff. And I’m like, well, why can’t we make one that’s, not too sweet, but kind of tastes like ice cream. I got home and I think six months later I got to actually got this recipe down and it works. So it’s definitely something that is unique. Nobody is going to be able to taste this butter cream anywhere.
A: Which I think is another reason why people rally behind Punk Rock Pastry so much because your things are delicious and isn’t something that is even comparable to say your local, Tim Horton’s or Starbucks.
H: We don’t do any mixes. We don’t buy anything frozen. This is all from scratch. Everything we do is made with our love and our hands. There’s so much work that goes into it. Like when we’re making vegan puff pastries, it’s two days work just to make the dough and then another day just to get the product going. So it is all a labor of love and everything is made completely from scratch so the recipe binder is exploding with recipes right now.
PUNK ROCK PASTRIES COOK BOOK
A: Have you ever considered doing a recipe book or anything like that?
H: We are actually, you’re going to be the first to hear this because I haven’t actually told anybody, we are actually in the process of writing up our Punk Rock Pastries cookbook.
A: Oh, I love that.
H: You’re the very first to hear this. Sorry if anybody’s a little bit, you know, wow. Oh my gosh. We started about a month ago and we’re finalizing most of it now and then doing it art work for the book and we’re hoping to release in December. We’re not a hundred percent sure if that’s going to happen, just because Halloween is our crazy time. If it’s not going to be December, it’s going to be for our 4 year birthday for Punk Rock Pastries next year.
A: I think the fourth year birthday would be an awesome timing and congratulations. That’s very exciting. I’m super stoked to get that.
H: Aww thank you. I’m so excited I’ll have to send you a copy once we get it.
A: I would love that. Well, Hollie thank you so much for joining me today.
H: Your so welcome. Thank you for having me.
A: Can you tell everybody if they are looking for Punk Rock Pastries online where they could find you?