Hi, my name is Chris Murphy and I started Tuck-Box. Here I'm going to answer your most frequently asked questions...
What is Tuck-Box?
Tuck-Box is primarily a cake baking, decorating and design studio run from my home in Sydenham, south east London. I say 'primarily' because we also teach classes, help design displays for events and make thousands of biscuits a year for various occasions such as weddings and PR give aways.
Who are 'we'?
We're a tiny team consisting of myself- the designer, an 'all rounder' called Tasmin and an expert piper (in the culinary, not musical sense) called Sophie. Theres also my dog Jelly who answers the phones and licks the stamps.
Why the name Tuck-Box?
The name came about because before all this I wrote a food blog called Tuck-Box. I'm an avid reader and one of my favourite literary descriptions of a feast was in Roald Dahl's childhood memoir 'Boy'. It went a little something like this:
"A tuck-box is a small pinewood trunk which is very strongly made, and no boy has ever gone as a boarder to an English Prep School without one. It is his own secret store-house, as secret as a lady’s handbag, and there is an unwritten law that no other boy, no teacher, not even the Headmaster himself has the right to pry into the contents of your tuck-box. The owner has the key in his pocket and that is where it stays. A tuck-box, as the name implies, is a box in which you store your tuck. At Prep School in those days, a parcel of tuck was sent once a week by anxious mothers to their ravenous little sons, and an average tuck-box would probably contain, at almost any time, half a home-made currant cake, a packet of squashed-fly biscuits, a couple of oranges, an apple, a banana, a pot of strawberry jam or Marmite, a bar of chocolate, a bag of Liquorice Allsorts and a tin of Bassett’s lemonade powder".
I guess I saw a parallel between the little treasure chest described and my own sweet musings. Along with Quentin Blakes whimsical illustrations, his books have always been something I’ve savoured. And lets face it, the guy wrote the most delicious story of all time to those of us of the sugary persuasion- Charlie And The Chocolate Factory!
How did you gain your skills?
By this time I was getting pretty into cakes. Nights I spent baking for various cafes and restaurants and by day I was interning for a 'big deal' cake maker in Mayfair, making elaborate £25,000 + wedding cakes for the well heeled. On top of this I was freelancing for a company that supplied intricately iced biscuits to prestigious department stores such as Harrods and Selfridges. And so it was that I honed my piping and sugar craft skills to the meticulous standards of the rich and famous...
When did you start Tuck-Box cakes?
Of course I couldn’t balance all this forever and after a while I began to see there was a gap in the market for something a little more colourful, so I decided to start my own company to address this. Having already established a following through my blog (and by this time print too) I kept the name Tuck-Box and channelled the sense of fun and imagination the name originally evoked into my first cake collection. Skip to 2012 and with the help of a loan from the Princes Trust, I debuted Tuck-Box at the National Wedding Show. In an industry dominated with austere white cakes, my designs really stood out and overnight I was crowned 'the maverick of cakes' by Britains leading wedding magazine Vogue Brides!
Why choose Tuck-Box?
Since that glittering endorsement Tuck-Box has been featured in many other publications as well as TV- and we've worked with luxury brands I'd never have dreamt of! From Warner Brothers to Sony, Perrier to You Tube and NBC Universal. We've supplied sweet treats to movie premiers and have an extensive celebrity client list boasting the likes of Cheryl Tweedy, Ant and Dec and Charles Saatchi as regular customers. In 2015 we were honoured to make a spectacular wedding cake and favours for Frank Lampard and Christine Bleakly.
Perhaps on account of our creative approach we also have a particular affinity with the fashion industry and have been lucky enough to work with luxury brands such as Jimmy Choo, Miu Miu, Furla, Clinique, L'oreal, Jo Malone, Henry Holland and Dr. Martins. In the winter of 2017 I even went to cater for the Dior couture ball at the Les Musees de Paris!
Its back on home turf though that Tuck-Box has truly established itself as the go to place for something unique and original. Regularly supplying to Londons top hotels and event spaces, from London Zoo to the Natural History Museum, The Savoy, The Dorchester, Soho House group and The Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
How did you get your particular style?
I studied Fine art painting in Brighton. Which of course explains why Tuck-Box cakes aren't exactly your average Victoria sponge. I use many techniques learned from my 4 year degree in my practise today. From airbrushing to sculpting, watercolour glazes to traditional piping. Yes, I am one of the few people who have actually used their art degree!
I really want one of your cakes! What is the process?
The first step is to get in touch via the 'contact' form or through any of the social media links at the bottom of the page. If its a big occasion such as a wedding then you can make an appointment and we can meet in person at my studio. Otherwise we can just as easily do this via phone or email. It's useful if you can have a think before hand about what sort of theme you're after and how much you'd like to spend. Once I have the basics I can start designing you something. Depending on the order I may ask for a fee for the sketch as they can be very time consuming and I can only take on a limited amount of orders each month. Once you are happy with the design I ask for a 30% deposit for your order, with the total due up to 28 working days before delivery.
How much are we talking here?
Please understand that each order is an individually commissioned edible artwork. It is not just 'a cake'. Every element is handmade and we use the finest, free range ingredients. Your cake can take days, if not weeks to complete and they don't leave the premises until they are absolutely perfect. As well as this everyone who works here is an artist and is paid the london living wage at the very least. As much as I would love to create cakes for all, unfortunately this is indeed a luxury service so if it’s beyond your budget you may want to get back in touch when its one of those 'block buster' occasions - Alternatively you can attend one of my cake making classes and learn to make one of my designs for yourself!
I wanna work for Tuck-Box! Are you looking for staff??
We are always on the lookout for talented staff and interns. Please get in touch with your C.V and photos of your work via: firstname.lastname@example.org