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Top bakers rally together to raise vital funds after Aberdeen baking queen fights back following shock diagnosis

09/04/2024

Seven of the north-east’s best bakers will come together to support an industry stalwart as she brings The Big Booby Bakesale to Aberdeen.

Mechelle Clark, who is the former owner of Aberdeen’s well-known grilled cheese shop Melt, which closed in 2020 due to the pandemic, has rallied her baking friends together to help raise funds for the local hospital following her shock health scare.

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The 41-year-old who has baked all of her life was diagnosed with the BRCA 1 gene six years ago and in 2018 discovered she had breast cancer during an annual check. Mechelle underwent a double mastectomy as well as an 18-hour reconstruction surgery in November 2022. However, complications including developing sepsis have resulted in Mechelle undergoing 11 surgeries to date, with a further two to three expected. 

The Big Booby Bakesale will take place at Parx Café on Rubislaw Terrace on Sunday May 5 from 11am to 3pm where customers can purchase goods from the takeaway window that was put to use during the pandemic.

It will raise vital funds for the Plastics and Burns Unit at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) where mastectomy reconstructions are carried out. All of the proceeds raised will go towards purchasing new state-of-the-art boxes that can be provided to patients on the ward ahead of their surgeries. The money will also be used to purchase a new piece of much-needed kit for the unit.

Mechelle, who now works at Trellis Coffee Shop in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire as the head baker, has recruited a star-studded line-up of talent from businesses across the city and shire. They include Bandit Bakery, Sourcloud Bakes, Feingeback and The Crusty Slice in Aberdeen, plus The Highlanders Bakehouse in Crathie and The Culinary Kiwi Bird in Insch. The team at Parx Café will also make bread and goodies for the occasion.

All of the bakers will donate their baked goods for the day for free to ensure as much money as possible can be raised for the unit.

Everything from freshly made focaccia and sourdough to delicious croissants and some of the best cinnamon rolls in the north-east will be on sale at the event. That’s not forgetting the delicious selection of pastries that will also be freshly made for customers to drool over.

Bakes are expected to start from around £3-£5 per item, with some of the bread items starting from £3.

Talking about what has inspired Mechelle to host such an event, she said: “Several women on my father’s side have been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer in the past. In 2022 during an annual check, the doctors discovered I had breast cancer and my whole world completely changed.

“I wanted to bring the best bakers in the region together to help raise funds for such a vital ward in ARI as I was compelled to help and support the wonderful nurses and surgeons who saved my life on several occasions. I’ll never be able to thank them for what they have done for me.

“As a baker the way I can give back is by doing what I do best, baking. This gathering of the ultimate bakers in the region will see everyone enjoy a day of bread, croissants and fundraising.

“This is a first-of-its-kind opportunity to taste and purchase incredible products in one place and we’ll have so much on offer that those coming along to support will definitely leave more than satisfied.”

Mechelle retrained as a baker and joined Trellis in Newburgh in 2022 as part of the Udny Arms Hotel team. Her grilled cheese toasties were legendary in Aberdeen and her much-loved brownies and cinnamon rolls can be found on Trellis’ counter most days.

Parx Café, which has just celebrated its 10th year in business is owned by local businesswoman Kirsty Moncrieff. Kirsty wanted to get involved in the event and has offered her premises free of charge to Mechelle who, alongside the other bakers, will be selling goods throughout the day.

Kirsty, said: “I was always a big fan of Melt and have been following Mechelle’s baking journey closely as she has absolutely grown into one of the best bakers in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Her brownies are legendary.

“Since Mechelle shared her brrast cancer story with me I have been blown away by how brave and strong she is. She’s an absolute powerhouse of a woman and her bakes, well, they speak for themselves. Parx is absolutely delighted to be a part of the Big Booby Bake Sake in May.”

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