One of Mitchelstown’s newest businesses based in New Market Square is The Cupcake, a sandwich, cake and coffee shop run by Tetiana Kyryukhin. Up and running for six weeks and employing a number of locals, Tetiana’s business is a real example of ‘doing what you love’.
Originally a microbiologist and from Ukraine, Tetiana has been living with her husband in Fermoy for over 10 years. A home baker, she started baking for friends and family and was on the lookout for a premises for two years when she saw that the premises once home to ‘Galileo’, was available. She made the call within 20 minutes of seeing the notice and sealed the deal.
So why did she want to go into the baking business?
“Because I’m good at it – I think!”, she says. With a number of busy cafés and eateries in Mitchelstown, The Cupcake’s unique edge is that it offers something “different”.
“We are different; we are not very Irish. We have all nationalities represented here; macaroons and apple tart from France, apple cake from Germany, or honey cake from Ukraine. We have cupcakes too, an American thing, but we change it slightly.”
“We change the menu sometimes, and see how it’s going, how it’s selling. But on a different day, there are different tastes. Sometimes a tray of Black Forest cupcakes go in two minutes, and sometimes they’re there all day. People do try different things, and when they try it, they like it,” she told The Avondhu.
The baker has some experience in the food business, having worked in Amber in Fermoy for a period. However, she admits that she was nervous in the beginning.
“Everyone is concerned when they start something new. There’s a different level of language, and I’m conscious of doing everything right; it’s a different country, there are different rules.”
While she gets help from her husband Sergy and her daughter, who’s returning to school, she says she was “very lucky” to have staff member Shannon Murphy get in contact when she opened, and behind the counter too she has Olha Savitska, who arrived here from Ukraine in March this year.
Shannon says she’s delighted to work in The Cupcake. She studied hospitality in CIT and “did a bit of baking” before joining the team.
“Things like this don’t often come up. I love it. I saw the sign go up and I text Tetiana and sent pictures of my cakes and stuff and got hired. The girls are lovely, and I’m really interested in it. I don’t dread coming into work! I’m learning a lot, and learning different techniques. Tetiana changes the recipes, so you won’t find them online. There’s still one she won’t show me yet though!”
The Cupcake already has several regular customers, including Mary who “comes in every morning”. She’s sitting inside when The Avondhu is speaking with Tetiana, and gives her review of The Cupcake.
“They’re very friendly, very helpful here,” she says. “The sandwiches are good as well!”
OPEN TO DIFFERENT TASTES
Tetiana has been witness to changing tastes in Ireland since even before she went into business.
“I didn’t know if Irish would be open to different products. But in the last ten years I’ve been here, I’ve seen many new products on the shelves. In Ukraine, it’s a huge country and Ukrainian people are open to something new. Now, I see Irish people are the same and are open to different things.”