Daemon da gingerbread man
It’s not unusual for Daemon Hanley to hear “run, run, run, it’s the gingerbread man” wherever he turns up. It’s the price he pays for running a baking business called Da Gingerbread Man.
His talent for gingerbread started to shine back in 2015 while helping with fundraising pot lucks at the Southampton Rangers Club. At the time, he was working there as a bartender.
“The cricket programme was raising money for a trip,” he said. “My job was to buy a case of chicken. They had people there to barbecue it.”
But one day another person brought in some gingerbread.
The thing to know about Mr Hanley is that he is very particular about his gingerbread.
“Some people making gingerbread and it tastes more like pound cake,” he said.
On this occasion, he wasn’t impressed.
“I said I could make it better than that,” he said. “They said, ‘No you can’t’.”
Determined to prove them wrong, he hit the kitchen with a friend.
His gingerbread went over so well at the next pot luck, he was asked to bring it every week. By the fourth week people were demanding to know who made the gingerbread.
It was a hit.
“When someone said Hanley made this, some people said, ’Oh no, a man could not have made this’,” he said.
Then people wanted to buy some from him. Someone asked him to make a gingerbread birthday cake. He happily complied.
After the pot lucks ended, and the club’s cricket team went to Europe and the United Kingdom on the money raised, Mr Hanley and his wife, Sharnelle, started to carve a proper business out of making gingerbread. They got their health department licence and fixed up their kitchen.
There were a few hiccups when the pandemic began last year. Sometimes shipping was disrupted and Mr Hanley was not able to get the exact ingredients he needed.
“Bless my wife, she allowed me to do some extra storage in the house,” he said. That allowed him to stockpile ingredients when he could get them.
Mr Hanley uses an old family recipe. The lockdown in April last year gave the Hanleys time to experiment with it and tweak it.
He now sells everything from gingerbread bites and slices to gingerbread birthday cakes and Bundt cakes.
And Da Gingerbread Man offers different flavours, such as coconut, chocolate chip, walnuts and crystallised ginger.
The business also takes flavour requests.
“One customer asked us to put in pineapple,” Mr Hanley said. “I said okay. Now I am due to release a new flavour. I will have gingerbread infused with rum, and with a rum glaze. We have really mastered it, so it is good to go. We also do pumpkin spice. That is a big seller around this time of year.”
Mr Hanley said that baking gingerbread all the time does not get old for him. He loves doing it, but his wife does get tired of having the house always smell like gingerbread.
Mrs Hanley is a teacher. She handles the administration and paperwork for the business. Mr Hanley does the cooking.
Da Gingerbread Man products can now be ordered and delivered through the Sargasso Sea app. They can also be found at the Rubis Paget Service Station, Thyme Restaurant, at Rosas Cantina, Chopsticks and Cousins Variety.
“But we are branching out to more restaurants to push the product,” said Mr Hanley, who works the business in his spare time.
“I am a bartender at the Warwick Workmen’s Club,” he said.
But he looks to the future, because if the business continues to build, he might become “Da Gingerbread Man“ full-time.
For more information call 703-1735 or check them out on Facebook @dagingerbreadmanbda.