My name is osian and i was born and bred in Blaenffos, a small Welsh village nestled in the Preseli Hills. my love for baking started at an early age whilst baking with my Mamgu, Mary, at her home in Blaenffos where the micro bakery is now located. members of the family have lived in the area and in this very bungalow for generations, it only felt right to come home to start crwst in a place so sentimental and essentially where the dream was first sparked. baking was a tradition in this small home, and i feel PRIVILEGED to be carrying that through into a new era.
Traditional bakes such as Welsh Cakes, pancakes and all sorts of sponges would be baked, eaten and enjoyed from this very bungalow. Today, Crwst’s bread and bakes are being made from the very same kitchen!
I gained most of my cheffing knowledge during my 3 years at Hammet House in Llechryd, a luxury country house with 2 AA rosettes. I was working under head chef andy beaumont, former great british menu contestant, representing wales.
I then made the move to Cardiff with my girlfriend, Catrin, where I became Head Chef at a 5* boutique hotel- Cathedral 73. The hotel opened in 2014 on Cathedral Road and has seen celebrities such as Ed Sheeran and Dougray Scott dining and staying. I took up quite a challenging role as i was the only working chef during the opening of the brand new Restaurant & Tea Rooms, which was quite the responsibility! but i was ready to work my crocs off to get the tea rooms and RESTAURANT off to a great start. it was during these first couple of months at 73, that the dream in the back of my mind of ONE DAY opening my own cafe, was beginning to look like a possibility. if i was ready to put in this much effort and work for somebody else, surely i could do it for myself?
That thought slowly faded as things got even busier. i didn’t have the time to think about the MUNDANE things in life, despite trying to start my own business! But one day, to my surprise, I was named in Wales Online’s ‘Top places for Afternoon Tea in Cardiff’ article, quoting – ‘If you’re looking for something a bit special, Cathedral 73 is the place to go.’ It was after this that Catrin and I got seriously thinking about starting our own business. The scrap book was back in action, determination on the forefront of our minds and the serious market research began!
A year or so Before making the move back West, I stumbled across a job advert for head chef at ‘The Orchard’ in Radyr, winner of the South Wales Echo best coffee shop for food and drink award. Their passion laid in homemade cakes, healthy brunches and lunches. I felt this would be the PERFECT opportunity to put my passion for pastry and bread making into practice, as well as continuing my passion as a chef. I got the job and went right to it by baking homemade loaves for all occasions – including the sandwiches on my afternoon tea.
I really got into baking bread (you could almost say I was addicted!) and was perfecting my skills at home. I had basic bread making knowledge from my few years at hammet house, but soon realised that there was a whole lot more to learn. Books were arriving through the post at least twice a week and i researched all i could to teach myself on how to make the perfect loaf from bloomers to ciabattas to sourdough. to this day I’m still learning, and i always will be!
After months of practicing my technique, i started to see some CONSISTENCY in my loaves which were going down a treat with family and friends. This is when we decided to take the plunge and move back home to start our very own micro-bakery business.
it didn’t take long to build a brand based on years of market research, scrap booking & planning. Catrin had also been commuting from cardiff to cardigan’s antur teifi offices to attend business courses and advice meetings for a couple of years leading up to the big decision. our dream of running a business was finally being put into place. it may not be the bakery/cafe/restaurant we had always dreamed of, but it’s definitely a start!
just before the whirlwind of establishing crwst, we took 6 weeks out to follow the Welsh Football team at the European championships 2016- and what an experience! luckily enough, we couldn’t have been in a better place to do some market research than France. the home of boulangerie And patisserie. Influences evident in crwst’s bakes & ethos today.
“We wanted to give something back to the community where we grew up. We enjoyed our time in Cardiff, but the country bumpkin lifestyle was calling us home! being back and surrounded by family is so important to us. the support was essential during the start up of crwst. also, You cant beat working from a kitchen with a window looking over rolling hills and our very own veg garden. y Lle gorau yn y byd i gyd!”