This week the London Living team sat down with Ken and Jesse, from Ken and Jesse’s Cookies.
Priding themselves on creating the perfect cookie experience, it all started with a love and passion for quality ingredients, and the taste and happiness the resulting cookies creates. Now, Ken and Jesse’s are located in numerous supermarkets in London – from Wholefoods, Harvey Nichols and Leon. Click here to find the closest store to you!
What inspired the Ken and Jesse’s concept and made you want to set up a cookie business as a family?
Ken & Jesse’s launched in 2012, inspired by my father’s (Ken) and our families love of food and baked goods. He has been making these exact cookies for us since we were little and decided to share the cookie love with the world. My father met Jesse, whose family also has a background in baking, and thus Ken & Jesse’s was born.
What sets Ken & Jesse’s cookies apart from all other cookies?
Our cookies are Authentic American cookies, which you cannot find anywhere else in London. We use only 9 natural ingredients that you would find in your own kitchen. They are freshly home baked cookies, on site on locations all across London.
What is the most outrageous cookie request you have ever had?
We haven’t gotten any outrageous requests, however, my brother and I came up with cookie sandwiches with either peanut butter, banana, or Nutella spread in-between two freshly baked cookies. They are incredible! Also one of my colleagues has added fresh chillies to our dough and baked them off. Oddly they were mouth-watering!
All of your cookies are lovingly made by hand. That sounds exhausting! How many cookies on average do you create per day?
We mix all of our delicious flavours with a Hobart 60 Litre mixer. We mix 35kg of dough in each batch. This dough is then converted into 75 gram dough balls and packed in boxes of 75 dough balls. The boxes are delivered frozen to customers where they bake the dough balls in store. Cookies are always freshly baked on the day, which creates a mouth-watering aroma that fills the shop.
Is Christmas a busy time of year for cookie orders?
Christmas is extremely busy (along with the rest of the food and hospitality industry). Freshly baked cookies are the perfect festive treat. I even heard one of our customers, a little girl, say that Santa would love these cookies, so her mum bought four packs of our Bake-at-Home retail product!
What are your hopes for Ken & Jesse’s cookies in 2019?
In 2019 we are hoping to expand production and hopefully get into Waitrose and potentially other supermarkets.
We’ve seen your promotions at Kensington High Street Whole Foods. There are queues of people waiting to sample your cookies but what we want to know is, who is really inside the cookie monster costume?
That’s a great question! The Cookie Monster is my favourite part about sampling and promotion sessions. It is usually my dad (the really Cookie Monster), however I have taken on the role a few occasions – I even took the bus wearing it from South Kensington to Piccadilly. I definitely got a lot of stares and laughs.
We are still slightly stuck on the cookie monster. He has a better London social life than we do! Which London venues he has made a guest appearance at with his cookies and where we will see him next?
The Cookie Monster comes out during our events and sampling/promotion sessions. He has made an appearance at most Wholefoods locations, Bloomsbury Ball room, Tonteria and even Maddox!
OK, moving on from the cookie monster. What is your all-time favourite cookie flavour?
Personally, the gluten free Triple Chocolate. I am not gluten free, however the way that this particular cookie bakes is perfect. It has chocolate chips, white chocolate chunks and cocoa mixed into the dough. It bakes as a slightly gooey cookie brownie with a fluffy texture – without compromising the crunchy outside and gooey middle. The chips also melt perfectly. I may actually go and bake one now!
What is the best bit about baking cookies for a living?
Sharing with friends, family and strangers! I always bring cookies with me and hand them out on nights out. It’s the perfect business card!
Cookie dough or baked cookie?
My best friend would say cookie dough (she never bakes them). However, for me it has to be the baked cookie. The smell when they come out of the oven and the warmth and texture – there is nothing better! With that said, I eat way too much cookie dough at work!
What is the secret to baking the perfect cookie?
Not over baking them and taking them out of the oven when they are still a bit wet at the top. Most people don’t realise that the cookie continues to bake when out of the oven.
How did it feel to see your home baked cookies being sold in Harvey Nics for the first time? That’s an amazing achievement!
Seeing my cookies at Wholefoods, Harvey Nichols and Leon is incredible – especially when I see people buying them. That includes taking the first bite out of the cookie and seeing their faces. Their eyes light up and you can see, ever so slightly, their mouth says ‘oh wow’.
What do you love the most about London?
I have been in London since I was 4 and I honestly think it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world (especially when the weather is good!). My favourite part is the diversity this city brings – you meet the most incredible people from all over the world, with such diverse backgrounds.
What are your top tips for eating out in London? (When you are not eating your own cookies obviously…)
You don’t have to go expensive to have a great meal! I love exploring all corners of London to find little hidden gems. My boyfriend recently brought me to this Turkish restaurant in Dalston Kingsland – best lamb ribs I have ever had (and I don’t even like lamb).
Lastly, how on earth do you stay so slim when surrounded by all this yumminess every day! Tips please.
When we first started the business my whole family gained at least 5kg each! Testing chips, testing dough, testing the baked cookies. We had to have an intervention and realised we don’t need to eat a whole cookie each when testing.
Also, working in the kitchen definitely keeps you fit. Most people imagine me with a cute apron mixing dough like a real-life Betty Crocker. However, it is the most physically demanding job! We are mixing 35kg of dough at a time and lifting 25kg bags of flour, chips, butter etc. It’s a workout.
For more information click on: www.kenandjesses.com