Working long hours as a restaurant chef meant Emil Rahaeanu was missing out on valuable time with his baby son – and it inspired him to start his own Liverpool cafe and bakery. Tony McDonough reports
When Emil Rahaeanu’s son Eric was born 10 months ago the experienced chef was working long hours in a Liverpool city centre restaurant.
His desire to spend more valuable time with baby Eric, and his wife Carmen, led him to launch Emil’s Kitchen, a bakery and coffee shop in County Road in Walton in north Liverpool.
He and Carmen opened the doors on their shop for the first time in early February and the early signs are promising. Making everything fresh, Emil offers a selection of food, cakes and coffee to stay in or take away for breakfast and lunch.
“People are definitely curious,” Emil told LBN. “I make everything fresh – I don’t prepare dishes in advance. We already have a few regular customers and some are keen to try out some of the traditional Romanian cakes we are selling.”
Emil has worked in the food business for around 14 years. He helped set up a restaurant in his native Romania on behalf of the owner. He explained: “I helped set it up from zero and that experience helped me when I came to set up my own business.”
In 2014 Emil decided to gain experience outside his home country and he went to work in a Japanese restaurant in Norway. He said: “I found it a little too cold living there. I had to put an aluminium sheet over my window at night.”
He then headed to London where he secured a job with ROKA, an award-winning Japanese restaurant brand in the centre of the capital. He stayed for more than three years but in 2018 he relocated to Liverpool.
“I had a friend living here in Liverpool and we had been to visit him a couple of times,” he added. “I liked it here. It was a bit quieter than London.
“Since I came here in 2018 I have worked in a number of different places. They included the Shankly Hotel, Aloft Hotels and Mamasan.
“Last year Eric was born and because I was spending long hours working in the kitchen I was missing out on valuable time with him and Carmen. My family is very important to me so that is why I decided to set up my own business.”
Through a friend Emil found out that a retail unit was available at 89 County Road, close to Everton FC’s stadium Goodison Park. He got in touch with landlord Gaynor Purcell and now Emil’s Kitchen is up and running and also offers catering.
“Eric is going to be looked after by a childminder and that will mean Carmen will be able to work here in the mornings alongside me. It is looking good so far – people are coming here for the first time and they are starting to come back.”