Features Walthamstow

A week in the life of a Ketogenic baker

A new diary column from the Waltham Forest Business Network
By Waltham Forest Echo

Samantha Vine, The Keto Baker
Samantha Vine, The Keto Baker

At age 25, I discovered I had a brain tumour, which turned out to be a life-changing diagnosis in more ways than one. Twelve years later, it has left me with epilepsy and a disabled arm and leg but also with a business that gives me purpose and joy every day.

In 2017, in an effort to control my seizures, I began eating a Ketogenic diet – low in carbs and free from sugar – which meant completely cutting out normal bread and cakes. These were two foods I had always loved and, unable to find any low-carb versions in shops, I simply began baking my own. A year later, The Keto Bakery was born.

A typical weekday starts around 7.30am, I work out of my own kitchen in Walthamstow so there’s no need to get going earlier as my commute is only downstairs. After cleaning the kitchen and making myself Bulletproof coffee (black coffee blended with MCT oil and butter, which I highly recommend), I get stuck in answering emails.

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My inbox varies from the ridiculous to the sublime, from customers asking why they’ve yet to receive an order they placed the night before to a request from a celebrity for their husband’s birthday cake. All my orders come through via the eCommerce platform I use.

I love Mondays (and Tuesdays and Wednesdays etc) because they’re devoted to baking. Thursdays and Fridays I often receive a lot of commissions for celebration cakes and they’re also the best days for meetings. Once I’m done with that day’s goods, I handpack them and deliver them across the borough by tricycle or transport them to the Post Office to be shipped nationwide.

With that sorted by late afternoon, I’ll spend some time preparing packaging for future orders, folding boxes and printing labels, or deal with the business side of things – stock check, finance, marketing, etc – before finishing work around 6.30pm to cook dinner. I try to get to bed by 10.30pm and I’m often so tired that I fall asleep holding my Kindle.

A lot of businesses like mine will work seven-day weeks to hit the weekend food markets, which is one of the best ways to meet new customers, but I’ve found that’s not really healthy in the long run and try to take some weekends off. I’m learning that to run a successful business you need rest at some point but it’s a challenge!

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