“Now this is the story all about how…” If you are like me, then this famous line come’s straight into you mind when you read the amazing name of this Melbourne born small business “The Fresh Prince of Baklava“.
We sat down with Walleed, the Fresh Prince of Baklava to discuss his local business story.
What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Walleed Rasheed, I am the Fresh Prince of Baklava and I make Baklava with a fresh and funky twist.
Your pastries are made with a combination of middle eastern flavours and western indulgence. How did the idea to combine these two flavours come about?
My parents are Egyptian so baklava has always been in my blood! And tell me who doesn’t love Nutella. One day, after making my traditional baklava, I found I had heaps of pastry left over. So I decided to try a new way using Nutella….and the rest is history really!
What is your business story?
I started baking sweets for my work mates about 4-5 years ago and experimenting with different ingredients. I baked sponge cakes, cheese cakes, all sorts of sweets but everyone would go crazy over my Nutella baklava. I started asking for money for the baklava as a fundraiser for a local community group and that’s when I realised that people would pay for the baklava. I was nervous when I asked a local café if they would be interested in selling it but the owner took one bite, looked at me and said “we can sell that”. Since then I have become a supplier to over 20 cafes in Melbourne and 1 in Sydney who found me on Instagram. We also have a stall at the Kensington market on the third Sunday of every month and we will soon be available through UberEats.
What do you love most about making your home made sweet pastries?
The best part about making the baklava is the reaction I get when people eat it. It’s that “Oh my god” reaction that I love and that motivates me to make the ultimate baklava.
Where can people find these treats?
I am a regular stall holder at the Kensington market (30-34 Bellair Street, Kensington) on the third Sunday of every month. And for people in the Western suburbs and Melbourne CBD region, we do cater events for orders over $100. You can find a list of the cafes we supply to at www.freshprinceofbaklava.com/stockists and soon people can order baklava through UberEats.
In your opinion, what makes the ultimate baklava?
It’s the perfect balance of sweetness from the syrup and creaminess of the butter. and the pastry can’t be soggy, it must be light and crispy. It’s all about the pastry!
You have considerably raised the bar from the humble beginnings of traditional baklava. Where does your inspiration come from for your items?
My inspiration for creating Baklava with a twist comes from my love of Middle Eastern desserts and the sweets I was brought up with as a kid, such as Nutella, Oreo cookies, Tim Tams, Mint Slice. I have a massive sweet tooth so when I cook I am just trying to come up with sweets that I would like to eat. I position myself as a baklava inventor!
What is the most requested baklava order?
Nutella and “Ferrero Rocher” Baklava (Nutella & Hazelnuts)
What is your business famous for?
Being the “Fresh Prince” of baklava.
What made you want to start your own small business?
Most of my career has been in a corporate environment and I had always dreamed of leaving the corporate world and working with food. Selling baklava gave me the opportunity to take the leap and follow my passion. And I haven’t looked back.
Do you have any advice for small businesses starting up?
There are always ways to fit in your dreams especially if you have the support of your loved ones, you just need to believe in yourself and take the risk.
What’s one quirky fact about your business?
I have never used a recipe to cook baklava, I just came up with the recipe and perfected it over the years. I am also the only one who makes the baklava, so every piece of Fresh Prince baklava has been handmade by me. My co-workers call me ‘The Wally Wonka of Baklava’!
Anything else you’d like us to add?
We will also be at the Arnold Classic next month on March 17-19 and at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition centre.