When Marchelle Mckenzie was five years old, her parents gave her an Easy-Bake oven.
“I’ve been baking ever since,” Mckenzie told CTV News Toronto.
At 28, Mckenzie already has many Michelin-starred restaurants under his experienced apron. Still, she takes a peek at this easy-bake oven as she folds tahini and maldon sea salt into enough batter to make 900 brownies each week for her online bakery, Butter and Spice.
“I watch it everyday for inspiration,” she said.
While her bakery business officially launched in 2020, in truth, the bakery’s roots stretch back long before the pandemic to when she was 13 and growing up in Mississauga.
When Mckenzie was entering eighth grade, she started MAM Bakery, an abbreviation of her initials. She baked six packets of cupcakes for the reasonable price of $ 2.75 and her brother delivered them. They even created posters on Microsoft Paint to promote their business.
In high school, the bakery evolved into Mckenzie slipping packets of Betty Crocker sugar cookies into the hands of his classmates in exchange for money down the hall.
“My parents said to me, ‘You have to quit, you are making too much money,'” said Mckenzie.
For several years the bakery shut down while Mckenzie worked as a pastry chef at world-famous kitchens like Eleven Madison Park in New York and Restaurant Story in London.
After his stint in England, Mckenzie planned a trip to Malaysia to visit his parents for a few months. But, as she was due to leave in March 2020, the world had other plans. She was stranded for four months.
When Mckenzie finally returned to Toronto in June 2020, she found a part-time job at Rolling Pin, a creative donut store in North York.
“I needed something else to offset my income,” Mckenzie said. “I was like, I have to make butter and spices again, for real.”
Six months after Butter and Spice officially launched, Mckenzie has reduced his business to a full-time operation, struggling to keep pace with his best-selling OG dark chocolate cornflake and brownie fondant.
For the holidays, Mckenzie says she went to great lengths to create Christmas-themed cookie tins filled with lemon thyme, chai, and ginger cookies, as well as seasonal brownies like her ginger cookie dough. covered with espresso frosting.
In the summer, Mckenzie began to develop these holiday assortments. In that same nature, she is already planning two to three years in advance to potentially move her online bakery to a physical store.
One of her first orders will be to hang the poster that she created with her brother for the MAM bakery in Butter and Spice.
“When I have a storefront, I will display it to show where I’m from,” she said.
Table Talk is a weekly CTV News Toronto series that explores the people who shape Toronto’s food scene, published every Friday on CTVNewsToronto.ca