At the start of the week, we spent five minutes with Elaine Price from Cuthbert’s Bakehouse located a stone’s throw from the Park. We got to know what drives her and the business, how Cuthbert’s came about, and why you may well have seen them featured in a very surprising place!
Hi Elaine, it’s a pleasure to meet you – thank you for sitting down with us. Let’s get started by learning a little more about the history of Cuthbert’s. How long have you been open?
That’s no problem at all! Matt & I initially started from our home kitchen back in 2009. Dreaming of homemade sticky toffee pudding, Matthew bought me a Kitchen Aid for my Christmas gift that year and from there on my hobby became my switch off from my day job. We initially started baking for Dafna’s Cheesecake Factory on Smithdown Road – The Cake Institution of Liverpool – and then steadily grew from our kitchen. It was getting to the point of cake envy – everywhere we turned in our house were cakes, ingredients & packaging! We took the jump when we signed the lease to 103 Mount Pleasant and Cuthbert’s opened its doors in the February of 2011. We literally invested everything we had into the business, including blood, sweat and plenty of tears in the early years!
There’s a special place in my heart for Dafna’s! So you’ve already alluded to this but who is behind Cuthbert’s?
It was founded by myself (Elaine) and my husband Matthew (Price). We did it in memory of Matthew’s late mum Sheila who sadly passed away, she was our inspiration in making it happen! She would say you have one life, and both have talents which you can make work – go and do it! We talked a long while about the name and Cuthberts had meaning for both our families – Cuthbert being Matthew’s late mum’s maiden name, and St Cuthbert being the Saint from Northumberland where I’m originally from.
That’s a lovely story, I’m sure she’d be incredibly proud! Now, onto the food itself – what is Cuthbert’s most well-known for?
Afternoon Tea and a place to come have a piece of home-baked cake! In the early days of living in Liverpool, there were few places you could go and get a proper slice of cake so we jumped on this and built our business plan on this!
I mean, what’s not to love about that? We’re both staples of Mount Pleasant – what is it you love about the location?
Before we signed the lease on 103 Mount Pleasant, we would go to Café 07 (the old residents!), and enjoy the ambiance when the café was a wine bar. I remember sitting at the bar one night thinking what a great place and location to have a business. The area has certainly seen a lot of redevelopment and regeneration in the six years we have been residents – we couldn’t believe our fate when the property came up for lease so we jumped on the chance. We love the charm of the street itself, being in such an old part of the city, the building dates back to the 1800s, and all of the street has so much character – we love our eclectic mix of neighbours and customers we are most fortunate to be surrounded with, from the famous book shop, Terry Barbour’s, and the surrounding local businesses – from Liverpool Science Park, to the Universities, all of which have brought Cuthbert’s some really lovely customers from so many walks of life.
I think that’s one of the main charms of Mount Pleasant, just how varied the businesses and the people are! We certainly love being here. Now in terms of your team, how many people currently work for Cuthbert’s?
We currently employ 16 members of staff. Matthew manages the operational and baking side and I focus on product development and innovation.
That’s amazing! Now when you aren’t working, what would you recommend to do in Liverpool?
Our recommendation would most definitely be to take part in one of the street tours which are now running throughout the city to learn more about the great place we live in. We had some customers who were visiting a few months ago, and had arranged their own street food tour to take in as many of the independent food businesses in the city, which I thought was a brilliant idea!
That is a brilliant idea – you’re certainly spoiled for choice here! Why do you think Cuthbert’s is so well-loved by people from the city?
We’ve literally tried to make our little bakehouse a home from home for everyone who visits. Matt and I wanted to create a nostalgic place to visit. We both had a clear vision of creating a neighbourhood eatery, where our regular customers and visitors to the city could come and have a friendly warm welcome and some great quality food and baked goods and atmosphere to accompany. Our staff are Cuthbert’s ambassadors – Matt and I can create the products, but we need our team to deliver this.
That’s such a positive ethos to have! So, who has been your most famous guest?
Well, I guess it has to be Paul McCartney and James Cordon! (Elaine casually mentions!) We featured in the Liverpool Car Pool Karaoke earlier this year a bridal party that weekend were fortunate enough to be part of the action, so spontaneous and so unexpected! We re-lived it on the security cameras days after!
No way – that is incredible, I don’t know what I’d have done if Macca had walked into our place! Elaine, thank you so much for your time it’s been such a pleasure!
A huge thank you to Elaine (and to Matt and the Cuthbert’s team) for giving us their time at such a busy time of the year for them! Cuthbert’s is open 7 days a week and have extended hours of the Christmas period. You can pre-order your lunch with the Cutbert’s team and they feature on our LSP Community Card which gives you 10% off subject to terms and conditions. To find out more about what this amazing eatery offers, check out their website here.