The Biscuit Cutter
There is something about home baked goodies that brings out the kid in all of us. We seem to love gooey centres in cookies and rich batters baked into sweet cakes. Steven Kendall, the owner/operator of The Biscuit Cutter is devoted to that sweet tooth we all seem to possess. He has been selling his wares at the Historic Halifax Farmer’s Market for a while now, and recently started at the Alderney Farmers Market in Dartmouth. Passable had a quick chat with Kendall when he wasn’t covered in flour and batter.
What is The Biscuit Cutter? Where does the name come from?
The name The Biscuit Cutter came from the side of a box of actual biscuit cutters. I cut all my scones by hand with a knife, so I figured I am a biscuit cutter. As a business, The Biscuit Cutter is a collection of baked goods produced on a very small scale out of my home.
Image courtesy The Biscuit Cutter
How did you get into food?
For as long as I can remember I’ve been watching cooking shows. My first was the Frugal Gourmet on PBS. As a kid I guess I just kind of soaked it up. My mom’s side of the family is Italian, so our days kind of centered on food. It was always entertaining to watch my Granny do the cooking. She let us get hands on if she was working with pie dough or gnocchi dough.
How long have you been baking?
I guess I’ve been baking since my early teens, but it was far more misses than hits. I really started to get into the swing of things around my early twenties. Professionally, though, it has been about seven years.
What does your day job entail?
Baking has now kind of taken over as my day job. I do have another job as a chef for the US Consular General. I do the cooking for functions at the residence. That would include dinner parties and receptions. It’s an awesome job. Having the freedom to plan a menu, unique to each event, is really nice.
How much time do you spend baking on a weekly basis?
Now that I sell my goodies at two markets my hours of baking have increased from 16 hours to about 24 hours.
What do you make?
My offering right now includes fudge brownies, cookies, oatcakes, cereal bars, a cake of the month (or more), and scones.
You only make a few select items. How long did it take you to refine them to the point were you wanted them?
That depends on the item. The cookies I make took very little time to come together. They are variations on recipes I found in publications. The items I make that started out as ideas and had to develop from scratch took a little longer.
How do you find the crowds at the market?
If I put on my business hat, I would say that I would always like a broader customer base with heavier traffic flow. Having said that, I am profitable at both markets and my product sells quite well. From a social standpoint both markets are very friendly with great people on both sides of the table.
What is it about making baked goods that keeps you going?
In a broader sense, good food makes people happy. Baked goods are a treat. They make people feel good. If I can make someone delighted by eating a scone or a cookie I’ll keep doing it. For some of my customers it is part of their Saturday routine. If I stopped baking I have a hunch I might get a few knocks on my door.