Love Brownies: Meet the Yorkshire woman behind the rapidly-expanding brownie empire as it opens flagship Leeds cafe

Chantal Teal and her team of expert bakers painstakingly craft every brownie they sell, spooning the mixture by hand before baking them in individual tins.

By Abbey Maclure
Sunday, 12th December 2021, 11:45 am

There's not a traybake in sight in the Love Brownies kitchen and it's that attention to detail that has won the Yorkshire business 15 food awards in the last 10 years.

Chantal, a chef by trade, launched the business on her kitchen counter in Ilkley in 2009 - with a mission to inject some luxury into the much-loved sweet treats.

Food has always been in my blood," Chantal, 48, told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Chantal Teal, 48, the owner of Love Brownies, outside her flagship Leeds shop and cafe (Photo: Gary Longbottom)

“It was always my intention to have my own restaurant, but when I was on holiday eating a brownie I realised that someone needed to make brownies with a more artisan approach.

“It’s completely insane the way we make them, but it gives us the individuality we have. We use individual tins to create a little bit of magic.”

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Love Brownies has outgrown five kitchens since its launch, recently moving into new headquarters in Harrogate, and now boasts 17 brownie shops and cafés across the country - as well as a thriving online store.

A selection of different flavoured brownies on display at the Victoria Gate shop (Photo: Gary Longbottom)

From the Morello cherry brownies steeped in Kirsch to special edition mince pie brownies and the new espresso bake, Love Brownies offers a mouth-watering range of flavours.

The business is celebrating the launch of its flagship shop and café in Leeds shopping centre Victoria Gate, which serves 'liquid brownie' hot chocolates and perfectly-paired coffee.

“The Leeds shop is absolutely amazing, it’s got such a sparkle to it," Chantal said.

"We’re still tweaking things as we understand customers’ needs and wants and we’ll be using Leeds as our innovation centre - all our new products will come through Leeds for feedback."

Chantal has an ambitious five-year plan to grow her business (Photo: Gary Longbottom)

The pandemic "hugely" set the business back, Chantal said, but it stayed afloat by expanding its online store and subscription boxes.

She added: “We’ve all gone through so many struggles over the last year and a half. For independents, there isn’t a cushion of cash to get you through.

“We’re always trying to be innovative and do things differently with a personal touch.

“For our business, it’s insanely labour-intensive which does come at a cost. Customers aren’t expected to know what goes on behind the scenes but the independent shops out there need that support.

“Since Covid, everybody has gone back to wanting the indulgences - the independents which have soul and passion behind them.

“And if they’re supported, they’ll come back stronger."

Love Brownies has now won six Great Taste Awards and has an ambitious expansion plan.

It will open a new café every month in 2022 and Chantal hopes to have 80 branches across the country in five years time.

“I feel exceptionally lucky and it feels like a dream," she added.

"It’s an immensely freeing feeling to love and keep evolving what you do - and making people smile.

"Not everybody gets the chance to fulfil their dreams and run their own business and I feel really blessed that I do it, and also do it with an incredible team.

“Everybody in our team is humongously important and that’s what keeps this dream going forward.”

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