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What do you get when an elementary school teacher and a computer programmer start their own bakery? A dynamite mom and pop team creating a lineup of macarons, cookies and marshmallows in innovative flavour combinations.


Oh, and all while raising two children.


Kitchening and Co. of Langley, BC is the third child of Carly and Daniel Wintschel. Carly and Daniel wanted a new project that was inspired by and focused on building community, and supporting local economies. Bringing people together over delicious baked goods seemed like the perfect way to bake their family values into a business - (no, I’m not sorry for the pun!).


We recently got to catch up with Carly to chat more about what inspires her in the kitchen, and the challenges of life as a mom, baker, and business owner.

 

Carly Wintschel in the kitchen
Photo Credit: Daniel Wintschel

 

What gets you excited about going to work every day?

Using my hands to create something beautiful that excites and brings other people together. I love connecting with my team. Together we laugh, do bits of life together and make awesome stuff.


What sets Kitchening & Co. apart from other bakeries?

Caring for one another in our team is very important. Yes we make macarons, cookies and marshmallows together but we also share our lives, check in with one another and grow together. I always joke that we should be recording our kitchen conversations because they are like counselling sessions! We also get excited to find ways our products can help others in our community whether it’s to help raise funds or bring smiles.

 

Ginger chocolate cookies hand-packed in their Langley bakery
Photo Credit: Stefan Van Mourik

 

What’s your company mission?

1 - Be an encouraging and fair employer

One of our greatest accomplishments is being a place people love to work. It’s so great to be part of their career journey by helping our employees meet their needs and self develop.

2 - Make food we are proud of with whole, quality ingredients

Regardless of what we bake or create, we intend for it to be outstanding. Life is way too short to settle for mediocrity, or to waste eating “average” food.

3 - Use our business to help our community

Whether it’s volunteering in the community or making meals for friends in need, we want to make a difference and see people living in community with each other.

Where do you get inspiration for new products?

Everywhere! I get inspired through travelling and experiencing new cultures. I’d say when we travel, it’s mostly to eat. I love Europe and greatly enjoyed the 2 years we spent travelling South-East Asia while we lived in Singapore. We are looking forward to sharing our travel bug with our kids as they get a little older.


I love learning about how different cultures combine flavours or are guided by cooking principals (such as in Indonesia how they focus on balancing Sweet, Salty, Bitter and Sour). I had a milkshake in Bali, Indonesia that was coffee and avocado so of course I needed to make an espresso macaron with avocado butter cream! I'm inspired by the food other people create, by my favourite combinations and by colour combinations and textures.


What are people most surprised about when you tell them about your company?

That an elementary school teacher and computer programmer started a company and are growing it while they raise two little boys! One customer said "you are so awesome" and was quite shocked when I called them back about an order the day after I gave birth to our second son. Life is pretty hectic and overflowing most of the time.

 

What's been your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge is building a business while parenting well, being a partner who isn't run out, and taking care of myself. My greatest challenge is preparing and weathering the different seasons of life. I like to think about it as seasons rather than balance. A wise friend once told me that things won't be balanced and that life is more of this sometimes then more of something else at other times. My second greatest challenge is simply being at peace with myself. I'm great at some things and severely lacking skills in other areas. These strengths and weaknesses really get highlighted when you venture into starting up your own business. I'm still learning to not apologize for what I don't know and to instead put that self awareness to good use by relying on my community and team to step up into what they are good at and passionate about. That is really a win win!


You’ve always specialized in cookies and macarons - how did you decide to add marshmallows to the lineup?


Our friend, Tina Bacon, started a business called The Pink Spatula in 2009 after battling breast cancer. She made small batch sweets and was passionate about using real ingredients with no preservatives, additives or artificial colours and flavours.


In 2013 Tina was re-diagnosed with cancer. We lost our friend in 2015. Her love for people flowed out of her and into all the work she did with The Pink Spatula, creating, learning, never giving up. She was an unwavering optimist.


After she passed away, Tina’s husband Matt approached us and began a series of conversations asking if we would be interested and willing to operate The Pink Spatula. We worked closely with her team to learn her recipes and technique and just a few months later, we were able to get Tina’s marshmallows back on shelves. It is our goal to always honour Tina in the work we do on The Pink Spatula, and we’re happy to carry on this project.

 

Tossing hand-cut marshmallows in powdered sugar
Photo Credit: Stefan Van Mourik

 

What's the best feedback you've ever gotten about your product? How did it make you feel?

"Never stop making these". I love sharing these bits of feedback to my team so we can all share in feeling proud together!


Baking can be long and gruelling work at times, but when you stop and see the facial expression on someone who has just tried one of our vanilla macarons – and you can see their entire world stop before your very eyes – it’s all worth it. More than once we’ve had people tell us that our macarons are the best thing they’ve eaten in their entire lives. There’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing and hearing that people love what you’ve created for them.