Meet the Canopy Market Traders

A Q&A with Max Tobias co-founder of The Dusty Knuckle Bakery, selling the best in bread and pastries

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Posted: Tuesday 25th October 2016

What do you make?

We make beautiful bread and delicious things, with great care and obsessive energy.

How long have you been working in food?

The Dusty Knuckle Bakery started life in my (Max’s) flat, where it stayed for two years before we started trading full time two years ago.

Why did you start your food business?

Because we wanted to start a business with the potential to support young people towards financial independence. We had become obsessive with making perfect bread and were making too much to eat ourselves. We realised that a bakery had huge potential to engage hard to reach young people, because it relies on teamwork, attention to detail and daily creativity.

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How did you start trading at markets?

We won a bursary to exhibit at the 2014 BBC Good Food Show at Kensington Olympia. We had only just started trading and this was our first real taste of standing in front of the customer, being able to talk about the product and share the ambitions for the enterprise. It was a great feeling!

How do you source and produce your ingredients?

We source everything possible from Britain and buy organic whenever available. We have a wide range of small suppliers,  with all our dairy coming from an organic family farm in Somerset. Our products are made by hand, with love and by a small team of dedicated bakers who work day and night, using well sourced ingredients to produce some of Britain’s finest baked goods.

Tell us an interesting facts about what you sell?

We’re trying to develop an employment programme for young people who need a bit of extra support getting into work.  We started the business with pretty much nothing, and that resourcefulness ties into pretty much everything we have done since.  We now bake in a forty foot shipping container and we’re looking at ways to expand on this.  Even our outdoor seating was made from wood recycled from the dismantling of the Olympic Park.

Who is your ‘typical’ customer?

We sell to all manner of people, young and old. There are those who just want a quick coffee and friendly smile in the morning, and those who are die-hard sourdough aficionados who won’t go a Saturday morning without a loaf of something proper in the bread bin. A lot of people are feeding their kids with our bread – including us – and that’s a great feeling, too.

What is the most rewarding thing about trading on markets?

The direct relationship you build with the customer. It’s a great way to get real time feedback about what you’re doing, and gauge what people enjoy about buying from you. It can be easy to hide away from the world whilst you’re busy making doughs, striving for perfection the whole time – you forget that people are out there, eating your product, and loving what you’re doing. We also love the feel of market places, the noise and the bustle that you get.

Why do you think people love markets?

Because there’s always a deal to be done!  And it’s a much more unique experience – you’re a lot more likely to find something of real value, that you’ll tell your friends about.

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To shop The Dusty Knuckle Bakery, visit the Canopy Market, trading from Friday 28 10am-6pm, Saturday 29 10am-4pm, Sunday 30 10am-4pm.

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