There’s a fascinating story behind your business and why you started it – can you tell us about that?
I have big ideas and I’m very enthusiastic about them. To be honest, most of my big ideas get shot down by breakfast time after frantically delivering an overly detailed plan of how exactly it will all pan out. My business and life partner, Marc, doesn’t always share my enthusiasm. In fact, opening a bagel shop was the first time he had actually agreed! That alone was enough to pull my string and set me off like some kind of a bagel-crazed toy hyena, and then two months later, Bross Bagels was open for business!
What makes your bagels so special?
I grew up eating bagels. It’s a huge part of my culture, my childhood, my birth city. A lot of things revolve around bagels in Montreal, and when I started travelling and eating bagels around the world I was able to appreciate why. Montreal has the best bagels!
I wanted Edinburgh to have the best bagels, so when we were developing the recipe with Breadshare we looked to my favourite bagel shop in Montreal. I even got my Mum to fed-ex me two bagels from St Viateur for 100 bucks so that the bakers could sink their teeth into my bagel culture that just can’t be described. It was also cheaper than flying them across the Atlantic for the experience. And what makes our bagels EXTRA special is that they are 100% ORGANIC.
Your shop seems to be a magnet for bagel lovers across the city and beyond – why do you think that is and what impact has it had?
People travel for their bagels. Fact. In Montreal & New York there are hundreds of bagel shops, but you would still make the journey to your favourite one; even if it’s at the other side of town. Bross Bagels is the only traditional bagel shop in Scotland, so it didn’t surprise me when a gentleman cycled from Dunfermline to get his bakers’ dozen, or that an elderly lady takes two buses from Tollcross every fortnight to stock up her freezer!
I’m so glad we can offer this to the city and beyond and I think it’s great for Portobello. People make a day out of it “Let’s go down to Portobello, get our bagels and take a walk along the beach…” There are so many little, undiscovered gems in Portobello and it’s great that Bross Bagels has become an attraction for this amazing destination.
Can you tell us any fascinating facts about bagels that might surprise us?
Bagels are the only bread boiled before baking – we boil our bagels in honey water.
Bagels are baked on special long boards covered in hessian in order to achieve a uniform bake.
Montreal style bagels are different than New York style bagels because they are made with eggs, which makes them tender and awesome!
Bagels freeze well! So, slice your leftovers, and keep them in your freezer until you’re ready for them – then just pop them in the toaster and badabing-badaboom!
What are your top tips for the perfect bagel fillings using Scottish produce?
When I brought my bagel and filling ideas to good friend, Chef Tom Kitchin, for his opinion and advice he shared a few contacts that allowed me to source the best produce in the world – Scottish produce.
I’m so happy that the best bagel in the world has been brought together with the best produce in the world and one of the best examples of this is our ‘Porty’ special which can be found on the Bross Bagels daily specials menu:
- Organic Crowdie cream cheese – Connage Highland Dairy
- Hot Smoked Salmon – Welch Fishmongers
- Fresh dill, cracked black pepper & a squeeze of Lemon
Try this on an ‘Everything Bagel’ (seasoned with onion, garlic and all the seeds) and you’ll never look back!
Any exciting plans coming up that you can share with us?
Another Bross Bagels is on the way with an in-house bakery and, if all goes well, a wee restaurant on top! Stay posted on all our news by following us on Facebook (@brossbagels), Instagram (@bross_bagels) & Twitter –(BrossBagels) – and, of course, we’ll be updating our website with news www.brossbagels.com