Hi Meredith it’s so good to meet you, I LOVE your macaroons btw, they are too good.
Can you talk me through how the idea for Ohlala came about?
I’d always loved macarons, ever since my mother took me to Paris as a child and I saw their gorgeous shells piled high in the windows of the cafes there. In 2013 I decided I wanted to set up my own company and I came up with the idea of “macaron and martini workshops” – I taught myself how to make macarons and realised I could teach other people too. I added the martinis, because who doesn’t love a martini?! Since then it’s gone from strength to strength and I’ve travelled around the world baking macarons, I even flew to New York to whip up macarons for Manolo Blahnik during New York fashion week!
So, what does a day in the life of Meredith look like?
Nuts! Not just because of all the almonds… It’s always super busy around here. I run two companies so I’m often juggling multiple projects. The people I employ are brilliant though, helping bring my crazy ideas to life. Every day starts with a walk with my dog, Phoebe, which helps keep things calm. Once that is done I sit down at my computer and tackle the endless emails. Throughout the day I am often asked to try new macaron flavours or help develop new ranges. We are working on a gorgeous set of Christmas macarons at the moment, so there is lots of gold leaf flying around!
And the name, ohlala…it’s genius, what’s the story?
All my best ideas come to me when I’m having a shower. I knew I wanted something fun and joyful as the name. And I knew I had to have a poodle as the logo. It just fits who we are and what we do.
Do you have a favourite macaroon flavour?
Oh, it changes constantly, the chefs are so great at coming up with new flavours. One week it will be passionfruit and the next chocolate cherry – I get told off for stealing the stock, so I have to be careful how many I sneak out of the kitchen.
The vegan Avocado ones are mine and I’m not even a vegan, how *do* you make them taste so good?
I know, they are amazing, right? I was so proud when we developed the vegan macaron range. It was a real challenge as aquafaba (bean water that replaces the egg white) can be quite tricky to work with in large quantities. The filling uses avocado as a base, which is really creamy and then really good quality chocolate makes them so moorish. I asked the team to add the cute little faces, which makes them almost too adorable to eat.
I’m hoping to attend one of your masterclasses but I am hopeless in the kitchen…will this matter?
Haha, not at all! We recently hosted a brilliant masterclass in the lovely KitchenAid Experience Store and everyone was so amazed with how easy they are to whip up. It’s really only four simple steps. It did help we had the gorgeous mixers they let us use. Come to our next one and I’ll show you the secrets to perfect macarons.
Will I be too busy drinking martinis?
Maybe! The martinis are brilliant. I always say I refuse to bake unless someone is making me cocktails! Seriously, it’s a great mix. The combination of macarons and martinis means that there is something for everyone and we also make mocktails for people who might want an alternative.
They are currently only running in London, are you looking to do these outside the capital?
We often get asked to host the workshops outside of London and on special occasions we can – so let us know and we’ll always try and make it work.
As a highly successful business woman, what are your top tips for those starting out in business?
Just start! I’m always telling people, “if you have an idea it’s no good just being in your head”. I really didn’t have a clue when I began by businesses, but you learn by your mistakes. I think people worry too much about being perfect. It’s only when you test out your ideas can work out if they are good or not. And if you are not then you can do something else. Staying open minded and flexible in your approach will always help and listen to feedback. I think as a business person you have to develop a bit of resilience and never forget it’s mostly hard work.
Thanks so much for your time
Thank you so much – I really appreciate you featuring us and I’m delighted you loved the macarons. We are really proud of what we do and genuinely care, so it’s great that you liked them so much xxx