A BAKER who opened Scotland’s first allergy-friendly cake shop in the Capital has been recognised at a major national awards.
Alicks Fraser officially opened Licks Cake Design last week after securing just £3000 in grant and loan funding from the Prince’s Trust.
The shop is the first in Scotland to be listed in the Vegan Society’s Animal Free Shopper guide. It caters for rare conditions such as coeliac disease, a food-related autoimmune disorder, and lactose intolerance.
Now the 28-year-old, who became his own boss after being made redundant three times, has had his success recognised by the Prince’s Trust, winning the 2012 Young Enterprise Project prize at last week’s Youth Business Scotland awards.
Alicks said the win was particularly satisfying as his mother, Jane, 60, was diagnosed with coeliac disease five years ago after suffering excruciating skin rashes for decades without realising they were the result of her diet.
He said: “It’s all to do with awareness. There are more and more people who are getting tested now and discovering they have things like coeliac disease, for example. It’s fantastic to be able to help people like my mum by opening this shop.”
As well as catering for vegans and vegetarians, the shop will offer dairy, egg and lactose-free cakes.
He said: “When I started to do research for the shop, and was looking for cake recipes and so on, I found there was no-one doing vegan and vegetarian cakes. And to my knowledge, there’s no-one else in the UK doing the range of allergy-friendly cakes I’m doing at the moment – I think it’s one of those things that people have just not thought about that much, although awareness is growing now. I’m getting orders all the way from Aberdeen to London.”
Alicks has Scotopic sensitivity syndrome, a rare sensory disorder affecting his perception of form and colour.He said: “When I was young and it was a sunny day, I was seeing stuff, particles in the air and random spots of colour – like the interference you would see on the old analogue TV sets.
“It’s been a problem I’ve had to soldier through, although working with it is like trying to do homework with a screaming kid in the background.”
He added: “It’s been satisfying to get the shop open and to receive this award. I was told before that I was not good enough to make my own cakes and now I have gone on to start up my own, pretty successful cake business.”
Mum Jane, who helps at the shop, is “chuffed” at her son’s success. She added: “It’s a brilliant thing that he’s doing. There’s a lot to do before people with allergies and special dietary needs are fully catered for.”
Grant Laidlaw, Youth Business Scotland regional manager, said of the Prince’s Trust winners: “These young entrepreneurs represent some of the most talented, creative and dedicated business people in Scotland today.”