Laura Bolt is on something of a learning curve. Having previously worked as a business writer in Nottingham, before freelancing while living in Switzerland last year, she came to the realisation that her passions lay elsewhere. After much research, she enrolled on a three-month course at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland, run by Darina Allan, whom Bolt describes as the Delia Smith of the Irish cookery world, and a ’real food’ champion.
"The course was fantastic as it gave me the chance to meet lots of artisan producers and get involved in events such as farmers’ markets, which was really inspirational," she explains. "I then set myself a 12-month target to find out how I wanted to work with food. Making my own products and selling them on the market was one of the things on my hit list to try and that seems to be what has taken off."
She set herself up as a caterer in July this year, producing a range of foods, and currently has a stall at the Local to Ludlow market every second Thursday of the month, where she sells solely baked goods, as a way of building her profile. She currently works from her home kitchen and has so far relied on roping in friends and family to help prepare and serve food at events she’s catered for. "This is something that will obviously change when the business grows," she says. "It’s my hope that event catering will eventually become the main income for the business."
However, her initial aim was simply to create something that, hopefully, people would want to buy. "Although I’ve done far fewer catering events than farmers’ markets, private catering looks to be where the turnover is going to come from in the future." Her next move will be to concentrate on additional promotion of her business, as well as looking at the feasibility and cost of a commercial premises. Bolt says it’s early days to know what she’d do differently if setting up her business all over again, but she believes she should have had more confidence in herself and what she was capable of achieving.