Kitchen success is Hidden no more

EVERY week, a huge queue winds through an Ashton-under-Lyne street full of people craving the delights of a booming baking business.

It may be called The Hidden Kitchen but its success is definitely in plain sight.

After starting in an Audenshaw home, it took on the unit on the corner of Market Avenue and Stamford Street, and its popularity is shown with a line of eager customers snaking back for yards.

People have been known to get taxis from outside the area, just to get their hands on one of Fearne McLaughlin’s creations.

Fearne (centre) at The Hidden Kitchen in Ashton-under-Lyne

And she hopes seeing what she is doing to the town can inspire other people to follow suit after Covid-19 lockdown brought it about.

She said: “I expected it on the first couple of days we were open.

“At the end of last year, I started doing market stalls and there would be a queue of people but it’s been every single week since I opened.

“It’s crazy.

“And I hope it inspires others, that would be nice.

Dedicated customers queue for up to an hour prior to opening to secure the sweet treats!

“It had been on my mind for years whether I was going to take the jump and do it and through lockdown, house prices spiralled but I’d saved up a deposit and had the money sat there.

“I was like, ‘What do I do with it? How long do I wait?’ So I thought I’d take the risk. I knew there was a customer base as I almost felt like I could never bake enough, I still do now.”

For a business that has created such a stir, the Hidden Kitchen may seem to some like an unlikely name.

But after its 2016 beginnings at a house on Trafalgar Avenue and wanting to do something nice for her mother’s birthday, it makes perfect sense.

Fearne at The Hidden Kitchen in Ashton-under-Lyne

And just like the reason why she is now in her retail unit, its success was born in lockdown.

Fern, 32, added: “I started in mum’s kitchen at first, taking over the family home.

“As I was getting in the way of everything, I moved into the garage, originally half of it, the back half.  That’s where the name comes from as it just looked like a garage from the front.

“And when my dad was building the first half of the garage, he had a bout of amnesia and forgot it was being built, that also added to the name.

One customer (and daughter, pictured) travelled from Oldham to buy one of everything on the cake counter

“In lockdown, it boomed. We started to do online bakealongs with my dad, who doesn’t know how to bake but I asked him to be in the videos as it was hard to teach people how to bake online, respond to all the comments and bake at the same time.

“I wanted it to feel realistic too. I could see him learning, so I could go at his pace.

“Everyone who watches, tagged me in photos of what they’d made and there were hundreds of them, literally.

“Before lockdown I had 5,000-6,000 followers. During it, it spiralled to about 15,000. I’m at 38,000 now!

“I started with cupcakes. We threw a surprise birthday party for my mum and made a cupcake tower. Friends and family were then like, ‘Can you do me one of those?’

“It was never an intention. I loved doing it, so I did it for my mum and someone jumped on to it, it grew from there and here I am now.”

*The Hidden Kitchen, on Stamford Street in Ashton, is open on Fridays from noon until 4pm and Saturdays from 11am until 2pm.

Menus of what will be available are posted on its Facebook page at on Thursday before opening.

One Reply to “Kitchen success is Hidden no more”

  1. Keep going Fern and the girls, doing a fantastic job! Enjoying getting treats from my girl ????????

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