An award winning craft bakery in Watford says its success “simply comes down to quality”.

Described as “a unique industrial-chic food emporium hidden in a North Watford industrial estate”, Flourish Craft Bakery is located at Unit 2, Garnett Close and is run by a brother and sister team.

During lockdown they were were challenged “like never before” yet still managed wholesale orders for the British Open Golf Tournament, The Grand Prix at Silverstone, Lords, Goodwood & The Garsington Opera, on top of their usual production for the week.

The British Baker voted Flourish’s multiseed loaf as Britain’s Best Loaf 2021 and they have also been nominated in The Best Café (in Hertfordshire) category of England’s Business Awards.

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Flourish Quality Bakery & Patisserie as it was known when first registered in 2000, was originally founded and operated from a former brewery in Tottenham, North London by Paul O’Connell (master baker), Edmund Soliva (viennoisserie master), and Paul’s big sister, Helen O’Connell (everything administrative).

When Edmund retired in 2005, the business changed its name to Flourish Craft Bakery and carried on with the brother and sister team, producing craft baked products for the hospitality industry.

Helen said: “Little did we know that 21 years later, after the recession of 2008, the Tottenham riots in 2011, a relocation to our current premises in 2015 and now a global pandemic, we’d be still evolving, winning awards and creating a household name for ourselves now serving our products direct to the public alongside our trade customers.”

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“Admittedly, a business that operates 24/7 is not for the faint hearted. It’s a labour of love that’s addictive and stressful.

“As cliched as it sounds, our success simply comes down to quality. Quality of ingredients, quality of staff and quality of service. And bloody hard work of course!”

Helen said they are adamant about making everything they sell from scratch at the bakery. Other principles include recycling everything, repurposing what they can and donating leftover products to local charity One Vision.

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The bakers make all the bread loaves, buns, baps, baguettes, brioche and English muffins, while the Viennoisserie team make all the sweet laminated dough products such as croissants, Danish, pain au raisin as well as tarts, mince pies, cookies, scones and muffins. The cake team make all the “fabulous” cakes and traybakes which includes celebration cakes and wedding cakes.

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Helen says the business is now back to pre-pandemic sales and growing, but faced with the shortage of workers and drivers - which is crucial to their heavily labour reliant business - as well as fuel, energy and ingredients shortages and price hikes, “the fight is not over yet”.

However, the future is looking bright for Flourish. It has just been granted an alcohol licence for both eateries and they are planning to open evenings with a bistro/trattoria style vibe, with live music.

They may rent out the café space for private parties, offer baking/pizza workshops, introduce afternoon teas in the café and set up local delivery sandwich rounds.

On November 1, Flourish will see the return of its “ever-popular” mince pies.

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