Fab Female-Owned Food Businesses
Let’s hear it for the girls…
This year, International Women’s Day falls on 8th March. It’s a global day of celebration (which has been marked for well over a century), and aims to recognise the achievements of, and help to forge positive change for, women. Each year the campaign takes on a new theme and Choose To Challenge is the motto for 2021. According to the IWD organisation: ‘A challenged world is an alert world. And from challenge comes change.’ So, we’re setting you a challenge. Add our fave female-fuelled spots to your list, we’re sure they’ll appreciate your support now – and every day.
Debbie and Mandy are the duo behind this brunch institution. Beloved for their all-day breakfast menu (hello, banana waffles), 1901’s Jesmond outpost was quickly joined by spots in Gosforth and Manors – both of which are now as popular as their first site. Whether it’s a cure for a sore Sunday morning head or a catch up with mum, this one’s a sure bet. Plus, their lockdown perseverance (they’ve been open for takeaways and deliveries of everything from flour and eggs to afternoon tea) is a testament to the pair’s dedication.
R Place, Whitley Bay
Known for their downright outrageous doughnuts, Emily and Rachel started R Place as a coffee pop-up, but quickly decided to put their artistic skills to good use by learning the art of doughnut making – which allowed them to offer their over-the-top treats for home delivery. After a Crowdfunding stint, the duo launched their permanent Whitley Bay base, where you’ll find everything from crispy duck pancake doughnuts to their iconic unicorn hot chocolate.
Pure Knead, Whitley Bay
Paula Watson started out at Tynemouth Market, but quickly took the next step to open her own local artisan bakery in Whitley Bay. Thanks to her customers’ support, she recently expanded Pure Knead’s base to include its own cosy café too. Call in for a range of breads, pastries and sandwiches – we love the focaccia – or get in touch for fully bespoke, breathtaking cake commissions.
Pre-pandemic Kate Hodgkinson ran Ernest, a slick Ouseburn establishment known for its brilliant brunches, exciting events and quirky cocktails. After lockdown forcing their closure, Kate took time to consider her direction. Enter Ernie, the little brother, so to speak, of Ernest – it’s an essentials store, deli and takeout hatch stocked with (and supporting) local produce and business. From bottled cocktails and bread to tea bags and bin bags, Kate has considered your every need, creating a unique one-stop-shop for essentials – with a focus on environmental impact and the planet too.
Pablos EggsGoBao, Whitley Bay
Breakfast meets bao buns at this outrageously popular Whitley Bay spot, run by Emma. Think fluffy, giant Chinese buns filled with crunchy hash browns, melted cheese, egg and a sausage patty, all topped with sriracha and burger sauce. It’s the combo you never knew you needed until you take your first bite. Expect good vibes and good buns.
Nil Living, Newcastle
This innovative brand, set up by Lucy Ritson, offers customers across the North East the opportunity to cut down on their plastic usage. Their refill station in Grainger Market allows your household and personal goods, including washing powder and shampoo, to be refilled – plus you can swap your empty bottles for refilled ones.
Studio 28, Hoults Yard
Naomi Longfield didn’t set out to become a chocolatier. She studied maths before leaving to pursue patisserie at Gateshead College, then gained experience in making chocolate whilst working for Gareth James in Tynemouth. Now, Studio 28 – her Hoult’s Yard-based chocolate shop and workshop space – brings high-end chocolate and pastry together in an entirely unique way. Expect chocolate sculptures, Bombay Sapphire bon bons and hand-painted lollies, that almost look too good to eat.
Charlotte’s Butchery, Gosforth
Known as The Girl Butcher, Charlotte Harbottle has created a community-orientated meat emporium in the heart of Gosforth. She takes butchery seriously, and sells everything from everyday essentials, pies, poultry and roasting joints to rare breeds, steak and stewing cuts. There’s really every type of meat you could wish for, and if there isn’t, you can ask Charlotte to order it in for you.
Something Good, Jesmond
Lauren Wedderburn is the brains behind Jesmond refill store Something Good, which brings together all the products we use on a daily basis to help make our everyday routine less wasteful. After making changes towards a zero-waste lifestyle in the summer of 2018, Lauren began buying less, choosing well and making things last – the same ethos she has carried with her when building Something Good. Think simple and affordable pantry essentials, like porridge oats and penne pasta (plus organic treats including milk chocolate buttons and slabs), as well as cleaning and bathroom essentials including shampoo and conditioner, toilet cleaner and washing up liquid. Simply bring your own bottle or container, or purchase one in store, then fill, weigh and pay – then return to refill without throwing anything away.
Dedicated to the art of cheese and cheese-making, this spot will rarely be found without a queue from its door, and that’s for good reason. Opened and run by Dubliner Moz (who adopted the North East as her home many years ago) at the end of 2020, you’ll find locally-made traditional cheeses and vegan cheeses, as well as a unique offering of cheeses with cult followings from further afield – add to that Moz’s expert knowledge, you’ve found the only independent cheese shop you need to know about.
Scream for Pizza, Sandyford
To go from slinging pizzas from a former 1970s army ambulance to opening a bricks-and-mortar site that quickly became one of the North East’s most established pizza institutions (they frequently sell out on weeknights even in the midst of a global pandemic), is no mean feat – but that’s precisely what Alex and Vicky did. We’re not sure whether it’s their quirky toppings (they’ve gone wild here: take Mr Blue Spice with ‘nduja, gorgonzola and a drizzle of chilli honey as an example) or the fact that they are two of the most affable people on the North East’s street food scene, but either way, our tummies will be forever thankful.
Cook House, Ouseburn
What started out as a recipe blog and supper club in a shipping container is now a fully-fledged Michelin-recommended North East dining destination, thanks to Anna Hedworth (also known as The Grazer). As a food-loving architect, Hedworth has always been the first to admit she was terrified to leave a secure career to pursue her idea of opening her own restaurant, but thanks to her experience in London kitchens, a little bit of know how when it comes to designing a cosy restaurant setting, and her obsession with locality and seasonality, it worked.
Truffled Hog, Stokesley
Escaping from busy London (and a life lived out of a suitcase), Teesside native Laura Hall left a successful career in finance and consultancy to launch The Truffled Hog in February last year. Inspired by vibrant city life, you’ll find her modern take on a traditional deli and wine bar nestled on Stokesley’s High Street. Its menus are brimming with artisan cheeses, carefully-curated wines, brunches, breakfasts and seasonal plates inspired by Mediterranean flavours. This is your new favourite hangout, no matter what time of day.
Kooked North, Wooler
Clear out your freezers and make way in your fridge, Laura Hardy-Rochester is behind Kooked North, a Wooler-based heat-at-home meal service (think Ingram Valley lamb casserole and rustic cottage pie). Packed with the best ingredients, all sourced in Northumberland – including eggs which come from her own happy free-range hens – you won’t get much fresher, or better than this when it comes to no-fuss, at-home food.
Graze & Gorge, Newcastle
After spending a year in Sydney (the home of the grazing table trend), Millie brought the culinary craze back home in 2018 when she launched Graze & Gorge. Specialists in creating fully-styled grazing tables and grazing platters for events and celebrations of all shapes and sizes, they look almost too good to eat. With local and national delivery options available, their doorstep-sized boxes are perfect for get-togethers, birthday treats, or just because. We’ve got our eye on their BreakFEAST in bed, brimming with fluffy pastries, fresh fruit and signature bircher muesli pots. But who can blame us? They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, after all.
Good Tempered Chocolate Company, North Shields
Zoe is the creative behind the Good Tempered Chocolate Company’s hallmark chocolate slabs. What started as a hobby (and side hustle whilst working as a firefighter) quickly turned into a full-time job. Now, you can get your hands on her seasonal small-batch bars, eggs and boxes in Something Good Co., Merchant No.1, Kith and Kin, Baristocracy and The Paddock Farm Shop, as well as online.
Flourish and Rye, Teesside
Best friends turned business partners, Sarah and Jess have always been united by food. Taking the grazing table to the next level, they pack the finest UK-sourced cheeses, charcuterie, artisan breads, pastries cakes and condiments into seasonal hampers, before delivering them to doors nationwide. Plus, their online journal is packed with recipe ideas to make the most of the produce you receive in your package.
Blondie Baker, Stockton
Amy started her side hustle baking blondies way back before anyone knew what they really were. During Lockdown 1.0 she took her baking to the next level, offering doorstep collections of the gooey slices and pies that her following has grown to love. When there’s a waiting list to get your hands on them, you know they’re going to be good.
Wild Plum, Harrogate
Bethany Haresign heads up the super-talented all female team at this popular Harrogate brunch spot which is known for combining style and substance. From a family of chefs, and having trained under a Michelin-starred chef, Beth uses only the best ingredients, sourced as locally as possible.
Paradise Foods, Harrogate
This airstream wagon stationed at Daleside Nurseries is headed up by former owner and (more recently) head chef of The Yorke Arms, Frances Atkins. Awarded her first Michelin star in 2003, which at the time made her Britain’s first female Michelin-starred chef, Frances is known for her love of fresh, British produce, which shines through in her menu of food-to-go dishes at Paradise.
The Violet Green, Norton
In the basement of an old bank in Norton, you’ll find The Violet Green. Cosy and uncomplicated, yet still offering a refined menu, it’s a hidden gem (run by Anna Hand) that celebrates high quality, seasonal ingredients through a menu of small plates.
The Mockingbird Deli, Yarm
Helen runs this charming coffee shop-cum-deli, which is something of a treasure trove of Italian delicacies. She brings quality meats, cheese and olives, and a range of scones, cakes and pastries to Yarm’s bustling High Street.
Pom Kitchen, Sheffield
Zora’s cute and quirky café is a go to for all-day brunch and lunching. Inspired by Australia and re-imagining food through colour, everything is vegan here – and usually rainbow-inspired too. Try one of their Pom dogs, a vegan frank in a pink pom bun, topped with anything from baked beans to mushy peas.
Pairings Wine Bar, York
Sisters (and sommeliers) Kelly and Kate run this popular York wine bar. Passionate about pairing wine and food, the duo have an appreciation for fine wines, small plates and sharing boards. Relax, socialise and feel at home (over a fine wine flight), whatever your knowledge of wine and food.
Henny’s Kitchen, North Yorkshire
Henny perfected her skills and knowledge of sweet ingredients whilst cooking on the most prestigious super yachts aroud the world, before going on to follow her dream of setting up a patisserie shop in the heart of Mallorca. Now her time is spent cooking for dinner parties and events, thanks to Henny’s Kitchen, or shucking shells from the side of her oyster and sushi boat, What The Shuck.
The Larder Club, York
This Italian Deli is the brainchild of York-born Laura Gallery, whose mission is to empower women whilst serving offering customers a taste of Italy. The Larder Club works to support the rehabilitation of women offenders, partnering with HMP Askham Grange they fund work placements, create employment opportunities and offer barista skills training in the hope to help to build new futures.