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here is a new TART Bakery in
town. Following the great success
of Philippa Stephenson’s Grey
Lynn business – which is also now
known as ‘Vegan Central’ - she has opened
a new branch in the heart of Auckland city
in the iconic St Kevins Arcade on
“Business has gone with a hiss and a roar
since it opened at the beginning of October,”
Philippa says with her trademark enthusiasm
and passion for business.
After five years in business, the flagship
baker y was named as a New Zealand Herald’s
Best Baker y of 2017. And as demand for Tart’s
vegan products grew - along with the queues
at the Grey Lynn shop, - Philippa knew the
time was r ight for expansion.
“We started with the goal of making our
food accessible, yummy and reasonably-priced.
We want to take our message regarding
plant-based options everywhere and as we
couldn’t have everyone schlepping up to Grey
Lynn, we decided to take our vegan food to
downtown Auckland,” Philippa explains.
Philippa was 49 and had just sent the
youngest of her five children off to school in
2012 when she started TART Bakery. Before
the opening, she went to study at Manukau
Tech and worked in several baker ies for a year
to gain practical exper ience.
The premises in Grey Lynn (with its
leadlight windows and retro ambience) suited
her brief perfectly. She wanted to present
good old-fashioned style home cooker y with
the best of ingredients. It’s all real ingredients
here (such as the best of fruit-filled jams) and
not a pre-mix, additive or filler in sight.
The small shop (30 square metres) in
Karangahape Road is also a perfect fit with
this retro theme. It’s once again with leadlight
windows and the alter native nature of the
shops in St Kevins Arcade (circa 1924) reflect
the TART philosophy.
All the food is supplied from the ver y
busy kitchen in Grey Lynn and delivered by
refrigerated cour ier services to the new shop.
The new bake shop soon built up a steady
flow of regulars and is establishing a real sense
of community there – as it did very quickly in
a patch of Grey Lynn.
Tart Bakery started with Philippa and a
small staff along with a team of part-timers.
Now with the two locations, she employs four
front-of-house full-time staff, four bakers and
a growing band of part-time workers.
She is still sticking to the tried and true
Tart favour ites - think baguettes to be eaten
straight from the bag, ginger crunch tarted
up with cr ystallised ginger, mouth-water ing
savour y and sweet pastries and a huge
selection of breads made with sour dough.
But, as she has increased her lines over
the years, Philippa has “veganised and
adapted recipes.” Since November 1, 2016
(to mark World Vegan Day), 100% of Tart’s
products are now vegan. There’s vegan
mince and cheese pie, mille feuille, lemon
tart, cronut and pain au chocolat – pastries
with great flavour to r ival those sold in top
European patisser ies.
And there’s also a superb kumura-topped
shepherds pie sold with crunchy brown r ice
salad. Or you can try the chickpea cheese
or tur n up for one of Tart’s special ‘Burger
Extravaganza” for a tasty vegan burger.
Philippa herself became a vegan about
three years ago – following in the footsteps
of her second son, Taz. And now all her
family are following a vegan diet and she
has become increasingly passionate about
After 20 years of devotion to her children,
Philippa, now really enjoys their interest and
support for Tart Bakery. Usually one or two of
the Stephenson children are happily helping
out over the weekends and her husband, Paul,
who has a busy career as a health consultant, is
a strong support person.
“It’s my Mum, Anne Thor neycroft (a
qualified patissier), who is indispensable. She’s
in her early 70s, can bake me under the table
and is always there to help me. I believe family
support is cr itical in small businesses,”
She is very positive about the future
of the business and can see a third and
perhaps fourth Tart bakery opening over
the next couple of years, with Hamilton,
Wellington and Christchurch in her mind as
Philippa also has her own personal food
technologist, Theoretical Physics Ph.D.
student, Dani Metin, is working with her to
develop some exciting new vegan products.
“We have to get out to the people to get
them tasting the vegan options. We really have
to do something for our planet.”
This strong and resourceful woman has a
mission to get the vegan message out there
and won’t give up until she has all sorts of
people willing to try it. And Tart Bakery seems
the perfect vehicle for that purpose. n
Tart’s delectable pastries available at St Kevins Arcade
St Kevins Arcade
Philippa Stephenson -
passionate about getting
the vegan message out.
New Tart in Town
BY ROBYN YOUSEF
Hospitality BUSINESS | November 2017 | 9
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