Owner, baker, and front of the house of Scandi, Susanne Ingmar, originates from a small town in northern Sweden. Having had a lifelong love for cooking and baking, Ingmar’s first job was as a pot wash at her mother’s workplace, a government-owned health resort for people with varying dietary requirements.
Ingmar worked her way up at her mother’s workplace, from pot-wash to doing dinner shifts for over 60 people on her own by the age of 15. She continued that food was significant to her family, with the baker having countless special memories of her grandmother’s cooking and baking.
“One of my fondest moments to look back on was cooking traditional Swedish dishes for my grandfather and being complimented that it tasted just as he remembered from his childhood.”
Ingmar said that by creating a feeling that could transport people to their fond memories, she would be doing right by her customers.
Once in her 20s, Ingmar moved to London to study at University, where she met Bobby, the other half of Scandibunz.
After finishing her studies, she got a job at a little kitchen called Kastner and Ovens, where there was a focus on home-style lunches from all over the world, cooked according to traditional recipes.
“I worked with lovely people from Thailand, France, Germany, the UK and Brazil and was lucky enough to cook for London fashion week and the Royal Opera House.”
Following this, Ingmar and Bobby ate their way around the world through a long overdue overseas adventure, where Ingmar worked as a restaurant manager at a Swedish Boutique Hotel before the pair packed their bags and moved to New Zealand.
Since moving down to New Zealand, Ingmar has worked as a chef at a café-bakery and as a deli and seafood manager for two New World supermarkets before creating Scandibunz.
Starting her baking career at seven, Ingmar described it as an activity to pass the time when waiting for her parents to get home from work.
“Most of it was highly experimental and maybe not the tastiest of treats.”
The most rewarding aspect of her work comes from making customers feel connected to her food and evoking fond memories.
Ingmar’s own favourite baked good is Tunnbröd, a traditional Swedish flatbread from the region Ingmar is from.
“We have them as a bread option at the shop, and they always bring back memories of baking with my family. Additionally, the butter, milk, and spice mix smells divine and gabbing a cheeky bread straight from the oven with some butter melting over it has to be one of my favourite treats.”
Everything Scandibunz makes and sells is traditional Swedish fare. If Ingmar’s mormor [maternal grandmother] would find it ‘different’, Ingmar said it wouldn’t belong in the Scandibunz kitchen.
“We have Swedish Meatballs, Brine-Pickled venison, Swedish style cured salmon (Gravlax) and traditional Prawn-mayo as well as classic Swedish bread options such as the flatbreads, Kavring, a spiced, slightly sweet rye bread, and crispbread.”
She said the bakery also has bright green marzipan-covered Princess cake and the best cinnamon and cardamom buns in the country, adding that these are not too sweet but very soft and with plenty of flavours.
Ingmar said there had been a surge in Instagram food, with significant importance resting on appearance rather than taste. However, she continued that the prevalence of social media and this type of food was sure to stay. Still, Scandibunz aimed to be on the other side of the coin, with supreme taste and minimal embellishments.
Scandibunz’s cinnamon buns are one of its most popular items. However, Ingmar was on a mission to spread awareness of cardamom buns which were similarly popular in Scandinavia.
“We’ve been selling our cinnamon buns for six years, and they have consistently been outselling everything else. We are still getting people weekly to try the cinnamon buns they’ve heard so much about.”
Outside of work, Ingmar enjoys travelling and tramping with her family, eating around the world (or, recently, Auckland), and reading.
For the future, Ingmar would like to travel back to Scandinavia for an inspirational trip to gather ideas of what else Inmgar and Bobby could bring to New Zealand. Long term, the pair want to build their brand and become a household name.
For any looking to go into the industry, Ingmar said that it was essential to have fun and study the chemistry behind why ingredients react the way they do.
“Several good baking blogs go in depth about these things for an easy way in.”