If you’ve always thought that waking up Sunday morning to a box of pastries on your doorstep was the stuff of dreams, then you may not have heard of Sunday Bakeday. I’d love to tell you it’s Grand Rapids’ best kept secret, but, in fact, its creator has become so overrun with orders that he, only after showers of praise and adoration, reluctantly agreed to chat with me—at the very real risk of gaining even more of a following.
Oh, fame. Your double-edged sword.
What is Bakeday? It’s the brainchild of Richard Crawford, a transplant from Scotland who likes punk rock music and bleak Soviet novels/movies. And, indulging his Creston neighbors (and now beyond) with a selection of inspired pastries. Much like a secret society to which everyone now knows the passcode, Bakeday is a delivery service where customers can choose four pastries from a revolving menu, pay $20, and sit back and wait for the magic to arrive. In response to uprisings by those outside of the delivery zone, orders can also be picked up at Sparrows in Creston or Morning Ritual on the West Side.
But, you have to act fast. Signing up for Bakeday alerts on sundaybakeday.com and staying on top of notification emails or texts are absolute musts. It always sells out quickly, though Crawford has taken steps to avert the crushing blow of missing out by hiring a baking assistant and additional delivery drivers.
Curious to know more? Here’s a little peek behind the Bakeday curtain.
Pastry delivery—on a Sunday morning when we all need them most—is pure genius. Where did you come up with the idea?
I got sort of obsessed with laminated dough a couple of years ago and was practicing a lot and making loads of croissants. You can only eat so many croissants, so I ended up giving the leftovers to neighbors and dropping them off at my friends’ places. I didn’t really know what else to do with them. My friends turned out to be pretty enthusiastic about that situation and I realized that maybe other people would be enthusiastic about getting pastries delivered too.
How did you get started and how have you handled the growth?
Part of the appeal of turning it into a business was the idea of getting to make a website and a logo and all of that brand stuff. I have a pretty straight-laced day job in corporate marketing so I liked the idea of creating my own little brand that I could be silly and have fun with. I enjoy that sort of thing as much as I enjoy baking. I made a website and an Instagram account and started taking orders from my friends through Venmo. I think I got 4 orders on the first “official” Bakeday, but people told their friends and neighbors about it and within a few weeks I was doing 15 and then 30 orders and I realized that I might be onto something. When I hit 50 orders, my tiny kitchen couldn’t cope with making 200 pastries in a night and I started renting commercial kitchen space. That helped me more than double my capacity and I try to keep pushing it forward each time so I can get more pastries on more doorsteps.
Is all this notoriety overwhelming? Do you ever wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into?
I don’t take it very seriously. I’m just pumped that people seem to like my pastries. It feels good to make a thing and have people receive it with enthusiasm. Every time I do a Bakeday I try to make it better than the last one and I hope that people can tell that I’m putting a lot of love and work into the product. It’s a lot of fun. When I make a good batch of pain au chocolat it still feels like an amazing magic trick.
I’m a huge fan of the CardiB. Just what is this sorcery?
It tastes good because it’s filled with chewy caramelized cardamom sugar rolled up in flaky croissant pastry. It has a similar vibe to a kougin-amann, which is a traditional pastry from Brittany in France. I’m not a proper pastry chef and I’m not really a foodie so I didn’t know that until someone on Instagram pointed it out to me. The key is the chewy/flaky combo. All of the best pastries have some kind of contrasting textures going on. I cover my scones in this really coarse brown sugar called demerara sugar and it gives them a really nice crunch that contrasts with the fluffy inside. That’s a scone pro-tip for you. Or maybe that’s baking 101. I have no idea.
What do you do when you’re not Bakedaying?
I’m British and I’m a baker so I spend about 40-45% of my waking hours either watching or just thinking about the Great British Bake Off. If anyone wants to talk about the Great British Bake Off, DM me on Instagram. The rest of the time I’m probably either doing my job being a high-flying corporate mover-and-shaker or reading a diverse contemporary novel.
Where do you get your inspiration for new concoctions?
Mrs. Bakeday would kill me if I didn’t take this opportunity to make it known that the jalapeño-cheddar scone flavor was her idea. People who like that scone are evangelical about it and she likes to remind me every Bakeday that it was her idea and that she deserves all of the credit for its popularity. The other stuff on the menu I’m just vibing. I practice new recipe ideas all the time and when I think I’ve nailed something I’ll add it to the Bakeday menu. There’s lots of cool stuff in the pipeline. I just spent a stupid amount of money on custom-made, cube-shaped baking pans and enough Nutella to fill a bathtub, so I hope Grand Rapids is ready for Nutella-filled cube croissants.
Anything else you want our readers to know?
Whatever you do, don’t go to sundaybakeday.com, scroll halfway down the page, and sign up for Bakeday alert emails (and optional texts). It’s already heavily oversubscribed and sells out in a few minutes so you’re probably going to be disappointed. I’m only doing this interview because I thought it would be cool to be in Revue magazine.