November marks World Vegan Month and to celebrate, team Foodism have been out and about snooping in the kitchens of our favourite vegan restaurants in London so that you nosey lot can have a sneak peek, too.
Our Plant-Based Plates series is a celebration of all the best vegan spots in the city; of the the restaurants, cafes and eateries going that extra mile to make plants really, really sexy, whether that's in the form of shakes, burgers, tempeh-topped salads or indulgent-as-you-like cupcakes.
For our fourth video we visited the wholesale bakery of Ruby's of London – a vegan patisserie that specialises in handmade products and a range of tasty treats that you can either order online or find at Greenwich Market. We sat down with none other than Ruby Amarteifio herself to find out what it takes to make a plant-based bakery tick.
Behind the scenes with Ruby Amarteifio at Ruby's of London
How did the idea for Ruby's first come about?
Ruby's officially started in around 2010. I was baking before that but that was when I started the actual business. It was really because of the gap in the market. As a child I couldn't have any dairy or eggs and back in the '80s it wasn't like now: there was nothing. So, I kind of always had that passion for baking and developing recipes. And so that's the origins of where Ruby's started.
How would you describe Ruby's in three words?
That's tough. I would say our business ethos has always been about standing up for integrity, passion, and innovation. I spend most of my days here at Ruby's focused on the innovation side of things – always developing new recipes, always trying to source the kind of new ingredients on the market. Integrity is based around sourcing our ingredients. Of course, this is a business so it needs to pay for itself but the drive here is not about just making money. It's about making a beautiful product with the best ingredients that we can source. As for passion: I'm full of passion for what I'm doing. I'm in my dream job, and I really try to make sure I surround myself with people who feel the same and people who are committed to what we're doing and are excited to be here. Because I think you can really taste that in the product and see that in the finish.
How important is making sure everything is handmade to you?
Handmade, for us, is everything. It always has been. Although we've scaled up and we produce more than we were obviously when it was just me in my kitchen when we first started. We're certainly not looking to become a factory and just churn out endless products. I really believe that the hand element can be tasted in everything that we make. We do bring in small bits of kit when we feel that it can improve the product but we never bring in kit to replace the hand because that human touch and human eye is what makes the difference.
How have you found London has reacted to your vegan cakes and doughnuts and the rest of your products?
Starting back in 2010 there wasn't that much competition out there so it was received brilliantly well kind of straightaway. We started out at Greenwich Market – we're still there – and we've got a great following that have kind of been with us on the journey. Which is really lovely for us here as well. I mean, I'm a Londoner so maybe I'm biased but I believe London is the most exciting place for food: for new food, for innovation, for development. I mean, I love it and this is the right place for us to be. It's been received really well.
What's your favourite product that Ruby sells?
I can't choose one. I think that's like when people say choose your favourite child – not that I'm a parent! For me, personally, it's always the new product. We have a set-menu but we also have seasonal offerings that we bring in every month and those ones are my babies. Because I've spent so much time developing them, I love to see how they're received by the customers. It also keeps it exciting for the bakers because they're always learning something new. The seasonal product at the moment is my favourite. And then the next month that'll go and it'll be the next one.
What was the first product you made?
Back when we first opened it was all about cupcakes. It started as a vegan cupcake business and then it grew from there. Following customer demand we brought in gluten free and naturally sweetened, we've kind of moved with the demand of what the customers are looking for. Now we do everything: cupcakes, whole cakes, brownies, desserts. It's grown organically. I think our signature products that people really know us for are our baked doughnuts – which are vegan and gluten free – and dipped in chocolate. It's a winner. That, and our dinky doughnut cupcake which is a cupcake with a little mini doughnut on top. It's the best of both worlds in one.
Where can people find you?
We launched our new website about a month ago and we refreshed all the products which has been great. It's been a real labour of love and it's taken quite a while – nine months or so we've been working on it. And I think the new offering is fantastic. We have a variety of products on there and we deliver across London every day of the week.