Meet Michael and Mary Jane from M&G Caiafa
A trip to Paris was all it took to convince Michael Caiafa to install a French-style baker’s oven in his Market bread shop M&G Caiafa. “It’s always been a dream to be just like a French bakery and after a visit to France, I came back more determined than ever,” says Michael.
A family business since 1974, the purpose-built bakery has been serving locals and tourists alike for well over 40 years. Owned by his parents who met as kids working at the Market, the early days required a lot of team work. “Mum was working at the deli opposite and Dad was doing fruit deliveries when they applied for the space,” he says. “Mum would set up in the morning, dad would do his run and then they’d swap. Mum would pop down on her lunch break and help out. This went on for two years.”
Since then, the business has grown to include more family members. Michael runs the shop with his dad, three sisters (including Mary Jane, pictured), two nieces and three cousins. Sadly, his mum, Grace, passed away in 1995.
M&G Caiafa specialises in everything from freshly-baked bread and croissants to pastries, nut butters confectionery, nougat, nuts and dried fruits. You can expect only the highest quality here – their long list of regular customers attests to this. “We’re always listening to what our customers want and we’re always looking at what we can do to offer the best. We’re never greedy; it should be great food at the right price,” he says.
The team works tirelessly. Up at 3.30am to be on-site by 4am, loading the prover, setting up the shop and serving customers – not without three coffees of course – but you can tell it’s in their blood. “We know nothing else. We all get along really well and feel satisfied that we’re working for the family legacy, but not without the odd argument of course,” he says.
So what’s the best way to eat a croissant according to Michael? “Straight out of the oven!”
You can visit the shop at Shop 66-70 in the Dairy Hall.