A leading aerospace engineer trades the high-pressure world of aeronautics for the world of custard and ganache.
Mark Mcintosh, who has worked for Rolls Royce for 19 years, is preparing to launch his first coffee shop, Mmacaron, in Market Street, Ashby.
The downtown cafe aims to provide a luxurious, family-friendly experience, with plenty of freshly made and decadent treats on the menu.
According to Mark, who lives in Ashby with his family, his love for all things delicious started when he took a Saturday job at a bakery at the age of 15, waking up at dawn to make donuts and pastries.
After college, Mark followed his love for engineering and aeronautics and built a successful career with Rolls Royce where he was for the past 19 years, most recently as vice president of service programs.
A passionate and knowledgeable home baker, Mark’s love for cakes and pastries has grown alongside his career. He says cake making was often a relief from the pressure of work, his technical training being very helpful on the smallest details.
As we all adjusted to life thanks to Covid, Mark made the bold decision to step away from his aviation career and pursue his dream – to open a café-patisserie.
Mark said: “I have dreamed of opening my own bakery cafe and sharing my skills and love of cakes with others for many years.
“Covid gave us time to pause and reflect on our lives and plan for a different future. I knew it was time to take the plunge.
“It has been a challenge to start a business during a global pandemic and many have called me crazy for giving up a really good job, but sometimes you have to follow your heart.
“I can’t wait to open our doors and welcome our first guests to our café. We are creating a luxurious and decadent concept and hopefully a wonderful experience and an escape from recent challenges.
“And I have big plans. If that goes well, we hope to open more Mmacaron nationwide, but with our home and heart firmly in Leicestershire.”
Mark, who is the executive chef, is currently developing the menu with pastry chef Emily Bucknall – who has represented the UK and won awards for her cuisine, and has worked alongside some of the UK’s top chefs, including Sat Bains.
According to Mark, the menu will be seasonal and, where possible, the ingredients will be sourced from the region. For example, all eggs will be free range eggs from Greenfield Farm near Twycross and fresh fruit will be from both Hammonds and Fancy That in Ashby’s Market Street.
The pastry shop will serve coffee from 200 Degrees, the Nottingham-based independent roaster.
In addition to macaroons, customers can expect to find classics such as fruit tart, mille-feuille, éclairs, madeleines and croissants, as well as sweet and savory scones in homage to Devon, where l Mark’s love for baking began.
There will also be the Pithivier Cake to celebrate Ashby’s pairing with Pithivier in France and more indulgent treats such as the Opera Cake, Chocolate Cake and Strawberry.
A food waste policy will be in place, which means that any unsold creations that are close to their expiration date will not be thrown away. Mmacaron will work with local nursing homes and nursing homes to provide treats for residents.
Mark intends Mmacaron to be a relaxed luxury café-patisserie, with a “modern, rich interior with decadent materials for a luxurious feel.”
As a father of young children, he’s also keen to make it family-friendly and will include features like stroller parking and a family-friendly changing room, as well as free fruit and baby food for the kids.
“The idea behind Mmacaron is to make as many people as possible discover the pleasure of exceptional pastry making. I want people to be amazed by their experience, whether by tasting, seeing and smelling the products, by experimenting the contemporary environment in which it is served or watch the pastry being made.
“The Mmacaron kitchen will be completely open to the public to watch and interact with the chefs so that we can show how pastry is created.”
Mmacaron is scheduled to open on Friday, May 21.