Given the Green Light – Bobbies Bakehouse Folkestone
John Grantham and Alex Field are the powers behind Bobbies Bakehouse. You can find them in the Signal Box at Folkestone Harbour Station. A ‘Bobbie’ is the nickname given to the signalmen who work on the trains. We, at Folkelife, always tempted by the smell of freshly baked cookies, popped in to find out all about them.
patisseries on the harbour arm
“Originally we wanted to have a pizza van,” John starts off as we squash into the galley kitchen underneath the Signal Box, “We bought an old ambulance and started to kit it out. Then we saw the advert for a food place at the Signal Box and started to change our idea.”
The Harbour Arm was advertising for a new food operation. They would be based in the renovated Signal Box at the entrance to the Harbour Station. The Harbour Arm were looking for something different to what was already available on the Arm. Alex and John, who both have catering backgrounds, came down for a nosy around.
“We looked at this place and thought it definitely has to be a cake place!” Alex leans in. Her expertise is canapes and yet is really looking forward to working front of house. John’s expertise is pastry and was Head Pastry Chef at Barclays Bank, and then before that Head Pastry Chef at The Gherkin in London.
Alex also works in events and weddings for a local catering company, but devotes 5 days a week to Bobbies. John is here every day.
freshly baked PATISSERIES
“We’ve been living in Folkestone for 3 years now. Alex is from London and always wanted to live by the sea. It was either Cornwall or here,” Says John. “I’ve compromised!” Chimes Alex! “My mum and sister have moved down here” John continues, “And we came to visit about 5 years ago and just thought, yes, we like this place.”
“Everyone is so friendly here, and so supportive. We’ve had loads of people come in when we’ve been open just to introduce themselves and to wish us well.” Alex beams.
Alex and John offer a savoury selection of bagels. There’s also freshly baked cookies, a lemon meringue tart, a chocolate and caramel tart with caramelised peanuts and some patisseries. Everything is baked on site and available to eat in or take away.
cake from morning to night
There are twelve seats in the Signal Box itself. Alex has also arranged a seating area outside with potted plants, for customers to sit and enjoy the world go by.
“We’re really looking forward to it. We’ve wanted to have our own business for so long, and to have the opportunity to work in this building is great. We’ve still got the old ambulance, and a pizza oven if anyone wants to buy it from us. We don’t think we’ll be needing it now!”