Shane Murray from MUD Bakery has been on a rollercoaster ride of baked goods since finishing runner-up on season 2 of The Great Irish Bake Off (GIBO) in 2014. Not one to sit on his laurels he has been busy building and perfecting his own baking empire. I had a chat with Shane to discover where his love of baking came from and what is next for MUD Bakery.
WARNING – Contains Baked Goods
Where did your love of baking come from? Who has been your inspiration?
My love of baking came from both my Mum and my Grandma. I grew up experimenting with muffins, pastries and cupcakes (long before they were fashionable!) and my love of baking grew from there. In my early teens I baked for a local craft fair stall. Even at an early age I was turning my hobby into a business. You could say I suppose, I was born to bake.
You were runner-up (well done) in season 2 of GIBO. Tell me what was the interview and assessment process like ?
I applied after much persuasion from my group of friends, who had attended many dinner parties at my house. They liked what I baked and thought I would be a good candidate. The first stage was completing an application form with tonnes of questions about my baking background, pictures of my bakes and my hopes for the show.
A Skype interview was the next step and when I got through that an interview was scheduled with the production team, where I had to bring a signature bake with me. For me, this was the most nerve-wracking stage. I had just flown home from Canada on the morning of the interview and had to throw together a bake to impress them. As luck (and maybe some talent) would have it the production team and judges really liked me. They liked my ginger, lime and coconut cupcakes even more and were polite enough to laugh at my jet lagged jokes.
The final stage was then a mock ‘technical challenge’ in a home economics rooms in a school. We had to make a raspberry mille-feuille, which is actually quite intricate. I kept calm and collected and let me personality show through while trying to perfect the bake. After that it was a bit of a nail-biting wait. The phone call came Mid-March to say I was through to the televised show. As you can imagine I was more than a little excited and a G&T was immediately called for.
Where did the idea for MUD Bakery come from and where did the name come from?
After finishing runner-up I knew I wanted to stay in the baking industry. Setting up my own business seemed like the next logical step. Although I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what I wanted to do yet, I knew I wanted to concentrate on one item or baked good. I decided on brownies which were (are) one of my favourites. The name evolved naturally from there. I was looking at a batch of my freshly baked brownies and thought they looked a bit like mud and so MUD Bakery was born.You are now part of the Supervalu Food Academy – how has this helped you fine tune MUD Bakery?
When I applied to join the Supervalu Food Academy I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew I would learn from the process and have access to a wealth of support and resources. The actual course was an amazing experience. I learned so much about the day to day life of business. Everything from costing and labelling legislation to marketing and social media. We also had hands on mentoring and guidance all the way through the process. If I hadn’t taken part in the Food Academy my ‘Brownies with Benefits‘ range wouldn’t be where they are right now.
Brownies with Benefits are a unique twist on the traditional brownie recipe. They are made with no dairy, wheat flour or sugar and incorporate the goodness of vegetables and nuts. They also contain exciting new ingredients such as coconut oil and coconut flour without compromising on taste.
What is the future for MUD Bakery?
With MUD, I had very much let it grow organically with no real plan or direction. I knew I wanted to do what I loved which was baking so that kept me on the right path. I ultimately want my own bakery /coffee shop and that time is getting closer and closer. I am a social people person and want a counter where I can interact with customers and add a little sweetness to people’s day.
From a food stall as a teenager, to a starring role on TV and now the Food Academy, it would seem the future is certainly bright for baker Shane Murray. His Brownies with Benefits can be found right now on the shelves in Supervalu. He also regularly attends markets around Dublin. His stall is, as you would expect quite the attraction, so it’s very much a case of grab them before they are gone! Shane also creates incredible custom-made wedding cakes (see below) for clients and if you are looking for something corporate MUD Bakery can brand baked goods with your company logo. I look forward to sitting in the MUD Bakery café in the very near future.