I’m lucky enough to be invited to their home, where four months ago they converted their front room into a fully functioning bakery.
Geanine spends nearly 16 hours a day baking in this small, working kitchen and George mans the market stall and takes care of the front of house.
I ask her if it’s hard working all day with her husband of 15 years, and she laughs:
“I know some people find it hard, but we aren’t like other couples. And anyway, I’m here baking all day while he’s out there selling, so I see him less than before!”
A tray of beetroot-red meringues cool on top of the fridge when I arrive at the house, and Geanine is decorating individual triple-layered chocolate heart cakes for Valentine’s Day.
The whole house smells delicious, and it’s all I can do to stop myself from devouring the tray of chocolate ganache truffles put out in front of me. In fact, the only reason I do stop myself is because I’ve already been sampling her peanut chocolate cake and banana caramel cheesecake.
Geanine experiments with different tastes and everyday there’s a different type of cake out on the stall.
“When I came to London, I fell in love with sticky toffee pudding. So I experimented with different textures and ingredients to makes a sticky toffee apple cake – now it’s one of my favourites.” she says.
The ingredients Geanine uses in cakes betray the level of pride she takes in her baking. Giant dates and berries, crushed walnuts, shaved almonds, French butter and Belgian chocolate – the small kitchen she runs out of her house is full of delicious treats.
The cakes are exquisite – no single sponge or marzipan casings here. Geanine takes her time making each cake, and her passion for the art of baking is indisputable.
Geanine doesn’t just make sweets – her sausage rolls, cheese scones and croissants are also a big hit. A pastry chef who has been baking since she was 16, she really can do it all.
I ask how Prestige Patisserie is going down with punters in Tottenham, and she says the fact she’s baking day and night is a good sign and as if on cue, George rings from the stall to say they’ve run out of chocolate eclairs.
The success of Prestige Patisserie so far is evident, but so much now depends on what they do next. Geanine dreams of a storefront and proper kitchen. And sitting in her living room, or at the Holcombe Market stall (where there’s always a queue in front of me), it’s hard to see how they won’t be able to achieve that dream sooner rather than later.
The enthusiasm both she and George have for the business is catching. George wants to enter a few of her cakes in the Great Taste award competition this year, and I can’t help getting excited. Wouldn’t it be great if a baker from Bruce Grove won such a prestigious national award?
“I’m so happy, I’m very lucky. I do something I love, with my husband, and everyone around us is so supportive. I think everyday there must be someone up there who likes me,” Geanine says.
But truthfully, we are the lucky ones to have her delicious cakes right on our doorstep.
Words by Nicole Val.
Photos by André Ainsworth.