“Dreams can come true, just a bit of hard work kneaded” – Katherine Marks.
It was mid-pandemic when former communications professional Katherine Marks realised her true passion: baking. Yet another COVID-19 ‘great resignation’ statistic, Katherine enrolled in a TAFE patisserie course in 2021, and went on to gain valuable, on-the-job experience at notable Melbourne bakeries — all while working full-time in her health sector job.
The result is Coco’s Patisserie, a new business in Carnegie which has already gained a reputation for incredible pastries, cakes and sourdough.
“Just over a year ago, I told my husband I’d love to open a patisserie — which was incredibly different from my corporate job at the time,” says Katherine. Motivated by the philosophy that ‘life’s too short’, Katherine, with the support of her husband Mark, set her dream into motion.
Read more about Katherine and Coco’s Patisserie in our interview below:
What made you decide to switch careers from corporate to bakery?
I’ve always baked but it was mid-COVID that I decided it was ‘now or never’ to make it a career change. I’m a firm believer that life’s too short, and it’s important to follow your passion.
What do you love most about working in a bakery?
Put simply, being able to create and produce incredible pastries, cakes, tarts and sourdough bread which give so much pleasure to our customers.
Tell us a bit about the name ‘Coco’s Patisserie’ – I understand it is one of your daughters’ names – how did the other kids take that?
Like me, my middle daughter, Coco, has always been interested in baking. In fact, she started selling cakes to friends when she was in primary school. Her name happened to lend itself rather nicely too. My other two daughters usually say: “I’m the other sister” when asked about the choice of name for the shop. My daughters are students and all three work in the shop – most days you’ll find one of them serving at the front and our customers and I love the fact this is a family business.
Have you always had a passion for baking?
Absolutely. I still pinch myself that it’s now my career.
What is your favourite product on the Coco’s menu?
That’s so difficult. I’m incredibly proud of the pastries and sourdough we produce. Depends on my mood (for sweet or savory)….perhaps the cheesecake or babka, or our new sausage roll.
What do you believe makes your products stand out in comparison to others?
There are quite a few outstanding bakeries / patisseries in Melbourne so this is a hard one. We produce some standard ‘old favorites’ such as our raisin escargot and almond croissant as well as some innovative creations like our reuben croissant (pastrami, house-made pickled cabbage and béchamel baked into a rye crusted croissant).
What is your best-selling product?
Our twice-baked almond croissant. We have a daily competition with our baristas to see if we sell more lattes or almond croissants. They often tie.
What Vanrooy equipment do you have and how important has it been to the operation of your business?
Vanrooy equipment is absolutely critical to our operations and success. We couldn’t produce what we do without it – certainly not to the standard and quality.
If you had to pick one piece of equipment you couldn’t live without, what would it be?
Where do you see Coco’s Patisserie in 10 years?
I’d love Coco’s to be an established bakery / patisserie that has earned a reputation for excellent products and customer service.
Finally, what advice would you give someone who is wanting to open their own bakery?
Be prepared to work very very hard and only do it if you truly love it!
Location: 88 Koornang Road, Carnegie 3163