Rachel Hanretty, Mademoiselle Macaron
As a student at St Andrews, macarons weren’t the career plan. Rachel studied French, so spent a year of her course in Paris, where she did everything from babysitting jobs to writing for the New York Times. Thank goodness she also enrolled on a pastry course. Because that’s where she learnt the art of the macaron. Two years later, a graduate and unable to find a job, she ended up working for Women’s Enterprise Scotland where she was surrounded by lots of can-do, entrepreneurial women. They gave her the push she needed to think, “Sod it, I’m going to make macarons”. It was, she points out, largely a case of having nothing to lose. Though we’d also like to point out that she was an Avon girl aged 12 so this lady is good at the hustle.
Anyway, she started making, then in 2014 opened a shop and café with views of Edinburgh Castle. A year later she launched the website then moved into an industrial unit in Leith. And then came the pandemic. While working conditions were a logistical nightmare, “people were eating a lot of cake”, so the macarons were in demand. These days she has a big team behind her and does everything from little boxes to amazing, dramatic, macaron towers which look like a beautiful cascading macaron waterfall. Afterall, Rachel says, macarons are all about creating little moments of luxury. “The essence of Mademoiselle Macaron can’t be separated from my experience in Paris. They represent this little luxury, I couldn’t afford Chanel, but I could afford this little luxury. To me it’s like edible jewellery, a treat for your taste buds. It’s very much about creating a moment.”