From an American food fanatic to a self-employed pancake perfectionist, Leah Schofield has shown how her unique Stateside food-inspired business has really taken off.
Yorkshire-based Leah, owner of the ‘Happy Food Group’, has caught the imagination of many with her unique business idea. Inspired by her trip to America in 2016, she now caters for various occasions in her portable horsebox, serving expertly made pancakes amongst other things.
As pictured above, Leah started the business in 2017, a year on from visiting New York with her mum. She claims she ‘fell in love’ with the pancakes out in the States, with her business now firmly up and running in the UK receiving great reviews.
Speaking to Wine & Dine Yorkshire, Leah told us: “I’ve always wanted to work for myself and always enjoyed cooking for people. My mum and I went to New York three years ago and I fell in love with the pancakes out there, which is where the idea came from.”
“I’ve always loved baking; I could never master a nice neatly decorated bun/cake but somehow have managed to crack the decoration of a stack of pancakes! Messier the better I say.”
The Happy Food Group can be found at various events around Yorkshire, with the unmissable unique design of Leah’s stall. A transformed horsebox is where Leah works her magic, an idea that initially came around from her best friend.
“The idea actually came around when my best friend was staying with me for a while. I came home one day from work to a horsebox on my driveway, she had bought it to do up herself and hire out. She then took on a different job and I bought the horsebox from her and continued the conversion. I had seen quite a few quirky horsebox conversions around and loved them!”
With pancakes being popular across a number of countries, few can argue American pancakes aren’t up there with the very best. Typically fluffy, stacked and dripping in syrup – the American style and design is an art that Leah has mastered.
With a number of pancake toppings and designs to choose from, it raises the question of where Leah gets her inspiration from. Through trial and error, she has found what works best, now only serving the very best, unique pancakes in Yorkshire.
“I follow a lot of creative bakers on Instagram and Pinterest who are always making crazy cakes etc so I thought I would try some of their toppings on the pancakes. Some worked, some didn’t. I like to use popular desserts/chocolate etc and create something from that. Obviously with them being American pancakes I’ve tried to recreate American desserts like the ‘s’mores’ one I do. That is definitely my most popular.”
Leah hasn’t always worked in food, though, with her career path changing direction from where she first began.
“This idea came around fairly later on for myself. I have worked in various retail positions for the last eight years. Jobs such as car sales and management have all led to me where I am today.
“It is one of those jobs I love doing, and I can work in my own space. I have an amazing set of friends and family who will help me out when I need it the most – which is something I am very appreciative of. I am very lucky to be surrounded by some great people.”
We also spoke to Leah about the stresses of working independently, and what she takes out of every day preparing food for the people of Yorkshire.
“As odd as it sounds, I love the stress of getting everything ready for an event. I also love hearing all the positive feedback from my customers, I love to make people happy with my food (hence the business name). As long as people are enjoying my pancakes and designs, I will continue to make them, as it is something I am very passionate about.”
In terms of what lies ahead, the future looks bright for The Happy Food Group. Leah has announced that she will now be catering for all kind of occasions, with prices starting from £4.95 per head for a classic cold buffet selection, in a separate venture to her regular pancake making. Leah will also be serving up pancakes on the first Friday of every month at Pontefract Market, something she cannot waitto get started with.
Looking even further ahead, Leah told us she has ambitions to regularly attend food festivals and markets, especially the local Huddersfield food and drink festival.
“I visit Huddersfield food and drink festival every year, I love it there! I have not yet had a stall there but that is a definite must for the future.”
This looks like it could soon become a reality, following her services being recognised by customers, and receiving a number of plaudits and positive reviews.
“Leah catered for our Cooperate Pancake Tuesday event for 100+ people which was the first of its kind within our business,” said one customer. Another said: “I recently ordered a couple of pancakes in a jar, absolutely scrumptious. Big fan of the Terry’s chocolate orange pancakes and great value for money, get your orders in.”
If you are looking for further information on Leah’s Happy Food group service, do not hesitate to get in touch with her. The page can be found on Facebook via ‘The Happy Food Group’, alternatively – Leah can be contacted on 07787 269038