Meet a Maker is a series the Mudgee Guardian have created in conjunction with Mudgee Fine Foods to tell the story of how your local businesses began.
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One of Mudgee's newest businesses on the block, The Baking Bird, is delighting all with sweet treats and homey meals.
With a passion for food and years of experience in the hospitality industry, Sharon Beard took matters into her own hands 12 months ago and started her own business - The Baking Bird.
"I've been cooking for a bloody long time," she laughed.
"I was working at the corner store and I had got to a point where I thought 'oh my God I am tired'. To go into takeaway at 45 years old, I had to remind myself that I'm not 20 anymore.
"I needed to take a step back so because I love to cook and am one of those people who has to do something with my hands, I needed to find an outlet."
The launch of The Baking Bird took place at the Mudgee Farmers Markets last October, and Ms Beard said she has not looked back since.
"I really enjoy seeing people walk up to my stall with so much joy on their faces. It's been really nice to engage with customers after years in restaurants and the catering business, and see that there are people who appreciate the time you give to something," she said.
"When you're in a kitchen, some of the floor staff might come in and say 'table eight said that's the best meal they've ever had' and it's a passing comment. You don't get face to face contact with people so to have that interaction with customers has been a real pleasant change.
"To give someone something that you know is lovely because it's what you love to do and for them to respond with pleasantries, it's just a nice feeling."
While COVID has thrown a whisk in the mixer, Ms Beard has sought out other ways to keep her business moving.
"During lockdown I have been running a cake competition. I'm giving people something they may not have seen in Mudgee before and also for myself," she said.
"I've got this bucket list of recipes I want to do and thought now would be a great time to do them.
"For the last two weeks, I've made a mystery cake for people to win a piece, they've got to guess what cake it is."
While Ms Beard does not consider herself to be business-minded, any future decisions regarding expansion will be addressed in due course but for now, it's all about going with the flow.
"I must say, I am probably the worst business person in the world. Put me in the kitchen and I'm happy but tell me to sit down at the computer or write something that isn't a menu or shopping list, I don't want to know about it," she laughed.
"I will make the decision one day if I want to have a shop front or something but after 12 months, it's still very early days.
"I'm happy doing my own thing but we'll see where it goes.
To get in touch with The Baking Bird, click here.
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