We are Maggie and David Simak, and we live in Edinburgh, Scotland, with our two gorgeous sons. David makes confections for our shop, Zukr Boutique, and I cut, roll, and package our products. I also take the photographs, design labels, print invoices and post parcels – which I prefer to the kitchen anyway. I love sweets, so we’re a sweet match!
David has worked as a pastry chef for the last 15 years. He’s told me the story of how it all started many times: when he was in primary school, they asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He didn’t know the answer, so when he got home he asked his grandfather (they loved spending time in the kitchen together, baking cakes). His granddad said he should be a baker, and the rest was history.
Over the course of David’s career, he’s worked at a large corporate bakery and in Michelin-star restaurants and luxury hotels around the world. He still works full time as a head pastry chef, but his dream is to have is own patisserie (hopefully soon!). He’s been able to branch out by way of our Etsy shop, and I support him 100 percent.
Both of our daily schedules are crazy. Since David works full time, he makes things for Zukr Boutique in the evenings, and I finish them during the day in between school runs and errands. We do bigger jobs together on the weekends.
To understand where David’s inspiration comes from, you need to know he’s a curious person by nature – he likes to know all about what he’s doing. He’s always reading or watching food programs and videos, studying techniques and getting inspired to try new combinations. Without the passion and love he has for his profession, his confections would not be the same. As for me, I’m more of a common sense person. I like things tidy and am a bit of a perfectionist. This comes out during shoots especially – some take a few minutes and just a couple hundred photos, while others take hours (or even days!) before I’m happy.
All of our recipes, methods and know-how are a secret. David sits for hours looking over sheets of numbers, experimenting with the percentages of every ingredient, temperature, and cooking time. He does quality checks too, and if he finds something that doesn’t meet his standards, he starts again and tries to figure out what happened. We make sure to buy from local suppliers because we want to support local businesses and use the highest quality ingredients for the welfare of our customers. By buying from us, our customers are supporting a small business in possibly the worst financial crisis in modern history. Every pound we earn we turn around and invest into our local economy.
Etsy means the world to us. Our creative business has taken our lives in a new direction, and we are full of ideas we want to realize. I think we’ve all learned to appreciate our time together, and our boys have learned that money comes from hard work. Our oldest son says he wants to be a pastry chef like daddy one day!
All photographs by Zukr Boutique.