Roxanne with husband and business partner, Armin.
A small business owner in Tower Hamlets has gained a 5-star hygiene rating for their new commercial kitchen in Bethnal Green after successfully completing the Council’s Food Hygiene Coaching Programme.
Roxanne Saili, owner of boutique bakery RoxyRara, makes couture one-of-a-kind cakes and has been doing so since 2012.
The council has a free Food Hygiene Coaching Programme that teaches and supports those whose businesses have 3-stars or less and those awaiting inspection.
The course is provided as part of the Council’s package of support to help the recovery of the borough’s high streets and markets from the effects of Covid-19.
Roxanne Saili said: “Around 11 years ago I made a cake for my sister’s friends party, and it just so happened that a producer from Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off show was at the party. They asked who baked the cake and encouraged me to apply for the show. At first, baking was just a hobby, but it turned into something more after I auditioned.
Roxanne auditioned for Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood and got down to the final rounds two years in a row. Unfortunately, Roxanne did not make it to the live shows but decided to start a career in baking.
Since 2012, Roxanne has been baking from her home and selling at markets across East London, including Brick Lane Market before taking a break from this market due to family commitments.
She recently made the decision to move her kitchen out of her home and into a commercial kitchen in Bethnal Green.
Roxanne spotted the free Food Hygiene Coaching programme in the Council’s weekly Business Support E-Bulletin, which has details of current and upcoming business opportunities in the borough.
“I had a 5-star rating at my home kitchen but that is totally different to a commercial kitchen,” Roxanne says. “The process was really quick, I filled in an online form and was paired with a food hygiene expert who rang me and asked when I was free. He came into the unit and gave me advice. It was so good because I thought I knew what I was doing but I didn’t.
“For example, our new kitchen is in a shipping container and the standard setup for a container is to have a single sink but anyone that produces food must have two sinks. Even though we’re not high risk, we don’t use meat and a lot of our cakes are vegan, I was advised that it was major that we didn’t have two sinks and we’d miss out on getting a 5-star food rating because of it.
“Luckily, we had a portable handwash that we take to the markets that we could use temporarily until we had a new sink fitted.”
“When the environmental health inspector visited to rate the kitchen, they were impressed, she said wow you’ve got it down and I said that it is thanks to this programme. She was shocked the trainer had visited before she had because they are fast at inspecting new kitchens. If we ever move kitchens, I’d definitely do the training again.”
30 local businesses are currently signed up for the first cohort of training, seven have already been reinspected and 100% have improved their scores.
Recruitment for the second cohort is now open and the Council is encouraging any business with a current rating of 3* or below or awaiting inspection to apply.
If you’d like to try one of Roxanne’s bakes, you can find her at Spitalfields Market (1 Market Street, London E1 6AJ), seven days a week, 10am-6pm on weekdays and 11am-7pm on the weekends.
Posted on Tuesday 23rd May 2023