Common Ground: Adam (& Carin) Robinson

Wednesday, 12 June, 2013

Interview by Megan Pilditch

Bread revolutionist and joker, Adam Robinson, standing in front of the open kitchen.

What do you think about when you wake up in the early hours of the morning to make bread? (2:30am, every morning!)
My bed, my wife, my wife in bed. No, I really really love what I do- it’s interesting and it’s different everyday. I also like working alone. When I get here in the morning I play classical music really loudly.

Childhood memories of food?
My mom was a fantastic cook. She was a good English cook, which is easy to relate to as a white South African cook- she overcooked everything and made nice cakes, preserves and jams. I remember being quite a greedy child, I have always been greedy and I really just enjoyed food.

Did you always want to be a chef?
No no, I was waiting tables in Soho, and there was quite an interesting chef there, one of the first ‘popstar’ chefs of the 80’s. I asked if I could work in the kitchen and just do mornings for free because I couldn’t cook. My mom never taught me because I was a boy, you never taught boys how to cook. To me there was an alchemy, a magic about food. As soon as I got in the kitchen I loved working with my hands.

By 2pm most of the day’s bread had been sold out.

Colombo supplies the coffee here-
You asking why doesn’t Bean Green supply the coffee? Go on and ask it…

Ok, why doesn’t Bean Green supply the coffee?

I don’t know. I like both owners; I think it’s partly because of their infrastructure and back-up in terms of training.

Thobile and Toko, the cheery staff that run the café and share the barista duty.

And your general attitude towards coffee?
I’m an addict. Ask my wife how bad I am if I don’t have a cup of coffee in the morning, insufferable.

What value do you see in artisanal culture?
Artisanal is a funny word. It’s a term I use because it’s recognised and is perceived as a buzz word like green or eco. Really it’s an artisan trade- working with your hands. I think it’s more important to what it means to other people. The bread just tastes better than machine made bread- if you have been eating this type of bread you couldn’t possibly go back to supermarket.

Would you close down supermarkets if you could?
No they are incredibly convenient and they don’t have to be bad. If you go to Waitrose in the UK they have fantastic produce. Why can’t they have bakeries like that over here in supermarkets?

Husband and wife team. After a quick kiss they were ready for the photo to be taken.

[At this point Adam handed over the interview to his lovely wife, Carin- He insisted he had a bakery to run but probably more so because he adores his wife’s genius. Carin writes the Bakery’s witty newsletter]

So Carin, do you have a vision in mind for this place?
We love the way it has turned out- it’s very much like our home. We actually took this space because of what it looks like -the idea was to just keep it incredibly simple and low-key.

Do you have a particular leaning towards the environment?
People would love us to! I think a business like this is by default quite environmentally friendly because it’s so simple and local. Interestingly, Adam says he’s from a time of post-war rationing– it’s deeply engrained in him not to just throw things down the drain. In the end this motivates itself to the same type of outcome.

Would Adam ever share his croissant?
He would definitely share it with me. Actually, Adam has a thing about breaking bread with people, it sound very religious but it’s not at all. He loves to sit around the table and share food.

You can sit down and enjoy some interesting reads like Molecular Gastronomy or Roman Cookery of Apicius. Alternatively, people watch Glenwood through the sweeping window.

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