MICHEL'S FINE BISCUIT CO.
Neither trained bakers or pastry chefs, over the past 16 years Michel and her team of passionate cooks have been creating mouth-watering biscuits made from only the best local ingredients. With a truly home made feel, and unique and beautiful taste, it's no wonder Michel's biscuits can be found across Melbourne and regional Victoria, and of course, on our shelves at Leaf.
We caught up with founder Michel to find out more about her delectable baked treats and the story behind this inspiring business.
Who are the team behind Michel’s Fine Biscuit Co and what made you launch?
Well my success is my team, none of us are trained bakers or pastry chefs but very passionate people and cooks. Over the past 16 years I’ve normally gone for the older folks but at the moment we have 2 very young ladies who are also cousins and both have an exceptional work ethic, are delightful to work with and keep me on my toes - that's for sure. Ron and Jude (husband & wife) are our delivery drivers and have been with me for 15 years. Both retired they love the connection with our clients, especially the coffee and treats they're usually given by our corporate clients. At Christmas time we usually increase our staff numbers to around 7 or 8 people to cope with the fruit mince pie and shortbread baking. I’m in the kitchen every week baking, packing and organising sales and packing our client orders for delivery on the Monday whilst Saturdays are usually spent selling my baked goodies at the Collingwood and Gas Works farmers markets.
What does a day in the life of the Michel’s Fine Biscuit Co team look like?
Mostly great! I’m up at 6 and try and walk my dog. We start at 8am and try and finish by 5 but it’s usually 6-6.30 on busy weeks, especially Christmas. I work from home with my bakery/kitchen in the back yard surrounded by my garden which is a very pleasant place to live and bake. I try and have all my staff trained in the whole business, from making doughs to piping the chocolate centres to answering phones and taking orders. We all clean, mop and do the less glamourous tasks that make a business run smoothly. I try and get on the road once a week to visit clients but that’s not always possible with such a small team.
What was involved in developing the range of Michel’s Fine Biscuit Co and are there any plans for any new biscuits in the near future?
Lots of tasting and unfortunately lots of wastage but when you get it it is truly exciting. My best moment was when I first developed the Anzac and White Belgian Chocolate. I had been trying to match a chocolate with the Anzac for months, I had some left over white chocolate one day from the Pistachio and white chocolate and popped some on a few Anzacs and came back to them an hour later, tried them and I thought I had gone to biscuit heaven! At the moment I am trying to develop a new range of biscuits without butter, unfortunately the price of butter has over doubled in price and it is now just so hard to make money as our products have so much butter in them, I mean loads of the yellow gold. Because I will never compromise on our ingredients and their quality I need to come up with something that will still taste amazing but with no or very little butter.
What has been your greatest achievement to date?
Gee that’s a tricky one! I’ve never had any training in baking just the time spent as a young girl baking with my mum, so to achieve what we have is probably a great achievement but really I think just to stay in business in this climate would have to be an achievement for anyone in business. I cant think of any one event or moment but I still find it incredibly enjoyable and I still have that passion for biscuits, people and everything in between.
Based in Castlemaine, do you have any tips for anyone looking to visit?
We are a very creative and colourful country town with an abundance of arts, music, gardens and much more.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take three things, what would they be?
My darling late husband Billy if he were here, my beautiful little dog, Scoota, Champagne and great cheese, preferably French!
Anything else to add?
One thing I would love to mention is the absolute amount of amazing people, clients and customers I have met over the 16 years who I proudly call great friends, what a blessing these people are in my life.