When Paula called the roastery to say she’s opening a vegan pâtisserie on Exeter’s North Street, we were pretty excited to hear something new was hitting that part of town. We spoke on the phone for a while — about Paula’s plans for the cafe, her incredible career in pastry and a little about coffee. Paula’s enthusiasm and courage to do something different was clear, so we were stoked when she chose to serve Roastworks at her new cafe joint. We spent five minutes with Paula from The Lin Den coffee shop and pâtisserie to find out more about life as a vegan pâtissière…
What was the moment that made you want to train as a pâtissière?
I was in uni studying psychology when I realised it’s not quite what I wanted to do for a living. At the time I became fascinated by Anna Olson, a Canadian pastry chef that had her own show on the Food Network channel. When my boyfriend Adrian told me he wanted to move to London and study games programming, I took it as an opportunity for me to pursue a pastry career.
What has your pastry career been so far?
Everything took off when I got offered a position at Claridge’s. I learned on the job whilst going to college on my day off. It was the best environment to be part of, learning from the best chefs in the business and understanding the work ethic and discipline required. I worked at Claridge’s for three years before moving on to the Royal Opera House and Number Twenty private members club. When we eventually had enough of London, we moved to Brighton where I got offered a head pastry chef role in a local bakery.
As any chef, my secret dream was to own a place of my own, a small bakery with rustic comfort foods. When Adrian and I decided to go vegan two years ago, I became a bit conflicted because the career that I chose and loved conflicted with my values, so when we found ourselves moving to Exeter I took it as an opportunity to start my own thing.
What do you love about having your own cafe/patisserie?
The thing I love most about my job now is that my passion and values work together with no compromise, allowing me to do what I love most: feeding people.
What’s your favourite pastry/cake that you make?
I can’t choose a favourite item on the menu, it’s probably a tie between the cinnamon roll and the carrot cake.
How would you describe a visit to The Lin Den?
When people visit our shop, I’d like them to feel welcome to study, play games, relax or work in a friendly environment filled with delicious vegan baked goods.
Where did the name come from?
We both grew up in a city famous for its linden trees, so we chose that as a reminder of home. Linden tea is something I had a lot growing up and I’m hoping to serve it in our shop one day.
What’s your favourite method to brew coffee?
Although I grew up with filter coffee, I enjoy espresso-based drinks now and that’s what we serve in the shop too. My latte art skills are something I need to improve on but luckily Roastworks’ house blend, The Truth, saves the day as it tastes amazing.
If we could give you a lifetime supply of something from Roastworks, what would you choose?
I would be more than happy with a lifetime supply of your house blend even though one day we’d love to create a signature blend with Roastworks.