Funky Bakers: international, traditionally baked, delicious bites

When we visited the first Funky Bakers in the Born, we loved it. Because, despite being a small location, it’s full of charm and above all and most importantly, its homemade bakery and patisserie products are delicious. It was then that we became fans of their cheesecakes, their babkas and their breads, so when we heard that they were going to open a new location that was going to be a restaurant (an Eatery), we were really pleased. Mainly because, in addition to their takeaway recipes, we were going to be able to enjoy a much broader menu in a spot where to stop and share delicious food. On top of that, they opened a Deli shop at the premises next door to this new space where you can buy an excellent selection of products with which to prepare a special meal and/or to decorate your home.

A few days ago, we spoke to the creator of these three businesses, Seyma Ozkaya Erpul, a businesswoman who is bold and full of life, with very clear ideas and a passion: to take care of her diners with dishes that are elaborated with fresh, top-quality ingredients. If you want to know more about her and her projects… come on in and read.

When, how and why did you decide to create Funky Bakers?

We decided to create Funky Bakers in 2018, after the experience we had with the previous project in Turó Park.

At that time, I was looking for premises in the El Born district to start a new food project, and luckily, I found a small space but in a very good location on the small corner of number 10 Paseo del Born. As chance would have it, it turns out this space had been a bakery for a long time… so I thought of creating a “new generation bakery”, where to always make new things, but with the essence of a traditional neighbourhood business that takes care of the locals. That for me was essential.

So that’s how the first Funky Bakers came about. And four years later, we have two more establishments with 3 different concepts but under the same brand. We’re really happy!

Who is part of this project?

On the one hand, there’s me, Seyma Ozkaya Erpul, I’m the owner and founder of Funky Bakers. I’m Turkish by birth, but I consider myself to be part of the new Barcelona generation after living in this beautiful city for 12 years.

Although I’m an engineer by profession and did an MBA, I also worked as a marketing manager for ten years at a mobile phone company even though my true passion was, and still is, to entertain guests at home. I love entertaining guests and cooking for them. That’s why I took the decision to leave my work life as I knew it and start a business in Barcelona.

In fact, it was in this city that I met Tommy and Crick, the founders of Federal Café, who have been my team and family for the last 9 years. The truth is we have done four projects together and I’m really pleased. They always take care of the design of the establishments and they helped to create the concept. Nowadays, we continue to work together on the opening of the new premises we have planned for 2023.

I’d also like to point out that at the end of 2021, Marcel Baer, my best friend and creative director and founder of Octaevo, became a partner in Funky Bakers and the brand and communications head.

We work very happily side by side.

For someone who knows nothing about you: how would you define Funky Bakers?

Funky Bakers started out with a mission: “to become a home away from home”, and with the idea of creating a community around food that is elaborated by hand, with love and always with fresh seasonal ingredients, that also understands the beauty of simplicity.

“Our food is the result of a delicious collaboration between bakers, chefs, designers and artists, using local products and recipes from all over the world.”

Together with our trusted suppliers, we work in harmony with the environment and we share the belief that good quality food should be for everyone. Also, our stores are welcoming spaces where to meet and create, and where the smell of freshly baked products blends in with the music and the chatter.

We have two atmospheres: during the day, the large windows allow glimpses of our kitchens, where the exquisite babkas come straight out of the ovens or the creamy cheesecakes cool on the racks.

And at night, the Eatery becomes a lively place in which to dine and have a drink with friends and family.

How did you experience the creation of these businesses?

During the Covid period, we didn’t close thanks to the team. In just two days, we managed to get the online store up and running, and with the help of our regular customers, we continued to work every day but on a reduced schedule. This experience allowed us to show our locals that we are always here for them.

After this period that was so difficult for everyone, we grew rapidly and we realised that we needed a bigger kitchen.

That’s why, when we found these gorgeous double premises, that are on a corner in Eixample Dret, with high ceilings and a 30 metre façade… we decided to take the next step and create the restaurant (Eatery) and the shop (Deli). Mainly due to the success of the campaign we had carried out during Covid“our pantry is your pantry”.

“We knew from the start that we wanted to be a lifestyle brand that revolves around food and drink, that would give a warm welcome and reception to our clients.”

What can you tell us about the shop?

In the shop, we sell homemade and gourmet food to take away, all kinds of drinks and other products that are needed in a pantry such as natural wines, specialty cheeses, spices, condiments, chocolates, cookery books, flowers, table decorations, etc…

We sell everything you need for a meal with family or friends or for a party/celebration. For us, the details are essential and that’s why the selection of what we sell is key.

And the Eatery?

We could define it as a new generation, contemporary bistro. A welcoming space where our community can enjoy our products all day.

We have a menu which is seasonal and varies, and which also includes a menu of natural wines, handcrafted beverages and specialty coffee. The kitchen is open all day and you can come and enjoy it at any time.

The truth is we have been to the Eatery at different times, for breakfast, as well as brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner several times and the truth is we love it. Who creates the menu?

Thank you very much! I’m really glad to hear that. I’m responsible for finding the recipes and the ideas, and then I work with the team to apply them in the best possible way for our clients to enjoy them.

I find inspiration all over the world, as well as in the new culinary trends. I read and travel a lot, and my Turkish roots are also essential for this process as I have great culinary knowledge.

I am also lucky in that there are really good, top quality ingredients both in Barcelona and Spain, so I play with them and with the different ideas that I collect to be able to create different menus.

Are you also responsible for the selection of the products that are sold in the shop?

Yes, it’s my selection. I am always on the lookout for new products, and the truth is we have lots of local artisanal suppliers but also suppliers from all over Europe. For example, we have chocolates from Scotland and from the Netherlands but also from our neighbour LØT; books; flowers that I order personally and that we prepare in order to sell, etc…

“We have a good mix of suppliers from all over the world, and that is something that we love, that has already become a part of the essence of our philosophy.”

By the way, your bread and bakery products are exquisite. What’s the secret?

We always look for the best ingredients, we work with ecological flours and the best quality butter. We won’t allow margarine, gelatine or lard into our kitchen.

We elaborate our products in the same way that our mothers and grandmothers did before us, with a lot of love and great attention to detail. Everything is fresh and baked the same day, and we continuously perform quality controls.

Who is responsible for your graphic imaging?

Since 2022, the image of the brand is managed by Marcel Baer, my partner at Funky Bakers.

Have you thought about doing anything special for this Christmas?

Yes! Our community is very much an international and multicultural one. That’s why for both Christmas and Hannukah, for New Year’s and the Epiphany, we have a great selection of special products. From party crowns, which are a combination of chocolate babka and Danish pastry, decorated with gold and caramelised hazelnuts, to a Holiday Cookie Box, that includes a combination of 5 different types of biscuits; a Pavlova, which is a classic for these holidays in Australia and New Zealand; a Mont Blanc, very typical in France or a Challah with 3 mezzes – it’s one of the star dishes at the Eatery -. We also organize meals and dinners for home delivery.

What is your next project going to be?

We are planning to open in Madrid! Since September, we have been looking for a new location to open our first Funky Bakers in the capital.  We are really excited and looking forward to it!

(*) Photos: Funky Bakers.