Alice Churchill whips up personal cheesecake creations with business help from her husband Jamie – and has opened her second outlet in Brixton Village. Simone Richardson finds out how Whipped began and where to get a taste … and how you should soon be able to wash down your cake with a cheesecake lager
Both Alice and Jamie Churchill have Polish heritage, and with that comes a taste for cheesecake.
Alice was born and bred in Bournemouth and James in Birmingham. She moved to London when she was 16 and, while still young, secured a job in the Ritz Hotel as a second commis chef.
She and Jamie met online nine years ago and have laughed together daily ever since.
Jamie comes from a software background and has a passion for design and graphics – Whipped’s websites, menus, graphics and branding are his work.
“He has an eye for detail and loves to take time to make everything absolutely perfect,” says Alice.
“When we met, I had two freelance jobs – one working in a restaurant in Borough Market and the other was teaching classes for a French cooking school, which I loved.
“Jamie has always had a huge interest in food and loved hearing about my days and which lessons I taught.
“Over the years I met private clients and ended up working directly for a wealthy family cooking for them on a daily basis.
“They were Chinese. which meant I learnt so much about Chinese food and philosophy.
“I worked for them for three years, then realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do in the long-term as I lost a sense of creativity.
“I left the job and didn’t know what else I was going to do.
“One day I came across a platform which sold tickets for supper clubs, so I signed up and within two weeks we were fully booked.
“I told Jamie a few days before that we would be hosting a supper club and he was incredibly supportive and became the host.
“The menu always featured a cheesecake, which was incredibly popular … and Whipped was born!”
Going back further, Alice recalls: “At primary school I loved arts, crafts and cooking.
“As a child, I was incredibly shy – so much so, that I had a fringe past my eyes in an attempt to hide from having to talk to people.
“I would opt out of public speaking, drama or music as I didn’t want to have to sing.
“I was very good at drawing and creating paintings etc., and won a lot of competitions at school.
“In secondary school I loved food technology and always knew I wanted to go to catering college.
“I was not particularly academic and really did not enjoy my time as school, as all I wanted to do was cook full-time.
“Knowing I needed decent grades encouraged me to continue with studies, as it would be my stepping stone to my dream course.”
Alice explains how her dreams came true, especially after coping well through recent difficulties, saying: “Lockdown was an incredibly hard time for us as a tiny business, but we managed to fight through.
“I was not too proud to go back and cook for private clients and even learnt new recipes and met new friends while doing so.
“During lockdown, we opened our Covent Garden store on a Saturday only.
“We had to work incredibly hard to create dessert worthy of customers who had trekked across town for them.
“We made friends with local residents, four of whom are now members of our Brixton team as they fully understand our family business philosophy.
“Just before lockdown, we were forced to close our first retail unit on Drury Lane.
“With the uncertainty, we decided to close the shop until further notice.
“I decided I couldn’t do anything, but we had no shop to be able to trade or bake from.
“I was incredibly fortunate to be able to find more private cheffing work and ended up cooking for a family for six months.
“This allowed me to save money and reopen in a new Covent Garden location independently. The day after we re-opened in October 2020 we went back into lockdown.
“At this point, we decided to launch nationwide deliveries which we marketed through our Instagram.
“In February, we were approached on Instagram to see if we would be interested in trading in Brixton – an opportunity we never thought we would see after such a hard two years.
“Since that day, we came to Brixton weekly and completely fell in love with the traders, the restaurants, the food and the atmosphere … and the crepes from Senzala!
“We now have a permanent shop in the Village which we absolutely love!”
Jamie helps Alice with “business development, design, technology”.
He is “a dab hand at DIY … we decorated by ourselves – from building counters to painting to installing, lighting – we do it all!”
Inside the small unit there is much colour that it attracts you in as well as the cakes!
“We love the energy of the market, especially on the weekends,” says Alice.
“From regulars sipping Japanese soups at Okan through our left window to watching Colombian families dancing at the Colombian restaurant four doors down.
“The mix of ethnicities is like nowhere else in London and the energy is unexplainable.
“Walking into Brixton Village is like going on an exotic holiday. On one side you have beautifully hand-crafted fabrics and on the other you have ingredients you’ve never seen before, supported by music from all countries pumping from each shop.”
Go and see for yourself the very noticeable Whipped with its cheesecakes and other delicious delicacies to enjoy.
Further good news is that Alice has applied for a “booze licence to do espresso martinis, lemon and cheesecake martinis and a brewery are going to make cheesecake lager for us.”
Alice is considering moving from Covent Garden to Brixton and has walked all the way from one to the other.
Whipped delivery driver Hysejan from Cosovo, who lives over the road from Alice in Covent Garden. He came to Britain to escape war in the Balkans. he helps her deliver to and fro from her Covent Garden shop and home to Brixton Village – part of a great team of a dozen staff that Alice is happy to have found.
Wild blueberry is currently the favourite flavour … go along and taste for yourself.
Whipped, Unit 65, Brixton Village, SW9 8PS
- Open all week from 11.30am
- Monday to Thursday until 10.30pm
- Friday and Saturday until 11pm
- Sunday until 9pm