We met Donna in Tasty Bite Cafe last week and spoke to her about her business. We know of Donna, as will you all, from seeing her cheery face at Thrapston Farmer’s Market. It seems that the start of the towns market was good timing for Donna…
“I’m Donna Thomas and I run my DonnaLulu Cooks business in Thrapston, where we have lived for 16 years. I was born and bred in Oundle and after my schooling years finished, I went onto catering college. I worked in the catering industry for a few years before deciding to leave the unsocial hours behind and try something completely different. So, for the next 26 years I worked in IT gaining my way up to management level. It was a complete change and although it gave me a good career, I never lost my passion for all things food related and trying out different recipes.
I always had a thought in the back of my mind that I would go back into the food industry, somewhere, sometime, somehow. So when I had the opportunity to set up my own business, I went for it and set up DonnaLulu Cooks – my office is now my kitchen! My business start up coincided with the start of the Thrapston Farmers market in 2014, which was great and has been a great event for us ever since – weather permitting of course!
I have always cooked and baked from an early age when I used to watch and learn from my Nan and then my Mum. My baking has been tasted by and tested on numerous people over the years and I am happy to say that the majority has been successful but some of it not quite so which led to a bit of refining or even binning! I have a large collection of cook books that I have collected through the years which I do I do look through, but I have never been one to follow recipes to the letter. I tend to use them more for inspiration so I can adapt and create something a little bit different. The DonnaLulu Cooks ethos is baking sweet & savoury cakes & bakes with a twist for all occasions and something for everyone. Something a little bit different, but not so unfamiliar it doesn’t work or people are put off trying it so I am always thinking of new ideas and recipes I can try out.
I like to use local produce and fresh ingredients that are in season or using produce we have picked or foraged for ourselves. It’s important to me to use good quality produce in my recipes for good flavour and good quality end products. I find it inspiring and satisfying to see people of all ages taste the food I have made, seeing their reactions when they taste something a little bit different, talking to them about what goes into it and where the ingredients have come from.
I provide local coffee shops with a variety of cakes & bakes – Tasty Bite in Thrapston being one of them! As well as attending the Thrapston Farmers Market, we have a pitch at Higham Ferrers farmers market and attend other local food events throughout the year. But, you don’t have to wait for the markets to buy your delicious treats as they can be ordered anytime! My aim is to share the deliciousness of good homemade affordable baking whether its for a family gathering, a get together, a gift, an important meeting or just for a treat, DonnaLulu Cooks will be happy to help and provide some cakes & bakes from traditional Victoria sponges to cheese & marmite savoury flapjacks!
We were hooked by the time we’d chatted and didn’t realise that she would bake for any family gathering and deliver too. You can view her prices on her website, and we think they offer huge value for money as we like to use local businesses, and with someone who can deliver cake right to my door – well life in Thrapston can’t get any better!