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2 minutes with Mike, baker extraordinaire behind the berry tarts

July 4, 2018

Mike Kloeg is the brains behind The Clareville Bakery over in the Wairarapa, just over an hour from Wellington city, and famous for their ridiculously good-lookin’ spread of counter food, from bread to pastries. It’s high time you paid him a visit!   

What is Clareville doing for Visa WOAP this year?  

We have two types of amazing baking classes, both of them are 100% hands on, from kneading your own dough to shaping different types of pastries. We are also supplying a whole bunch of restaurants with our bespoke burger buns, with awesome flavours and party colours using natural nature’s own colouring from vegetables like beetroot and spinach.   

How were you inspired by the theme of Party? 

Celebration is normally one of joy and happiness. Amazing food, creativity, bright and colourful are all associated with having a good time and enjoying yourself. 

Describe your favourite birthday cake growing up? 

Donald Duck on fondant icing. Because she had done such a great job of it, we removed it from the top of the cake before we cut it, and put the icing on a separate platter. I was allowed to eat the icing on its own for the next week or so…. which was pretty special as we grew up only having carrot sticks and apples for treats! 

What’s your best Visa Wellington On a Plate memory?  

In 2015 The Clareville Bakery won the Mindfood Outstanding Producer Award. We had been in business for just over a year, so being recognised with this award was amazing.  

We also get a massive buzz producing thousands of burger buns for all the amazing restaurants and cafes. The team work super hard, but it’s so rewarding to see all the boxes piled up at the end of the shift waiting to be delivered, and the buns to be used in all the burgers.   

Whats your earliest memory of bread?  

It would be sitting around the dining table putting butter and peanut butter on white bread with a warm glass of milk. 

How have you seen the culinary scene change over in the Wairarapa in the last few years? 

Wairarapa has such an amazing culinary scene.  We have outstanding primary producers right through to the restaurants, cafes and craft people who turn this wonderful produce into dishes and products.  Wairarapa is the culture of supporting local business together with enjoying time with friends and family creating a sense of a relaxed attitude to life. I believe it’s that sort of attitude that attracts both discerning consumers, but also excellent and innovative people to work in the culinary scene.  We have seriously good restaurants, cafes, wineries, breweries and more, run by passionate proprietors that are always lifting their game.  

Who inspires you and your work?   

Ultimately my inspiration comes from Jesus - an encouraging quote in the Bible is “Whatever you do, do your work with all your heart...”  

So in all aspects of life, be it family, business, baking or community we are encouraged to strive to do our very best and to serve others.  

In a way I find inspiration from everyone I come in contact with, we can learn from every person we meet whether to apply to your own life or to justify that you’re following the right path. When visiting eateries or businesses for example, I feel inspired to consider how they do things differently, whether it’s something we can improve on or where we can say… what we’re doing is great!   

If you had free time to go to a 2018 Visa WOAP event (not your own) what would it be and why? 

Coastal Walk looks amazing! Nothing better than rugging up and exploring the coast in the middle of winter. Seeing the power of the ocean, two forces would be awesome. And then to dine on some amazing local fare… Happy Days!!!