For todays blog post we’re talking to the wonderful Emer Murray from Goyas Cafe & Bakery in Kirwans Lane. I think we all enjoy a good cake, and there’s nowhere in Galway to get a better cake than from Emer.
I chatted with Emer while she worked on a confirmation cake order and got an insight into her history. Its funny how a small decision can have such a big impact on your life. This is exactly what happened to Emer. At a time when she was studying for a future related to law she realised it wasn’t what she wanted to do with her life. It was then that her Mum saw an ad for Lydon House who were in need of someone to make pastries for them. After applying she told me it was straight to Easons to read how to make some Danish pastries… and Galways finest pastry chef was born!
Those of us who know Goyas know just how good Emers work is and her reputation for wedding cakes in particular is outstanding. For those of you who don’t – are you sure you’re from Galway? 🙂 She made my wedding cake for me back in 2010, I can still remember how detailed and intricate it was.
After some time working for Lydon House she moved on to selling cakes into McCambridges in what was the Butlers Chocolate stand in the shop at the time. Seeing what a great response she had to her products it was a short step down the road to begin selling her products in the market in St Nicholas from “the back of the old Renault.” Things began to take off and she decided to take the chance on a small unit on Quay Street, located where Martines Restaurant currently is. This opened on March 1st 1991. It was here that they began to build a strong local support and a name for quality products that became very much theirs such as their breads, lemon meringue tarts and various cakes.
The next step was to a new and bigger premises which was just around the corner to their current location in Kirwans Lane in 1999. Originally they were only to take half the unit but when the opportunity arose Emer decided to, as she says, double her order for tiles and go for broke on the whole place. After establishing herself as a hugely popular food destination, offering consistently good food in the new larger premises it was onto a busy time for wedding cakes as the orders flowed in and they were delivering all over the country with everyone in the business helping out with this.
Emer works flat out to ensure that every single cake ordered in Goyas is perfect for the occasion as she understands that for anyone who orders with them is doing so due to their high standards. As such she works at least 6 days a week, often 7, icing every cake herself. I got to see this in action myself while we talked. She told me that when she is working on a cake it is her entire focus and she tunes out everything else, it helps clear her mind so that the only important thing at that time is the perfect finish for the customers cake.
Its not just cakes that Goyas has such a high reputation for. You’ve likely spotted their ready meals in many locations around Galway. This was something Emer had wanted to do for a very long time and they’ve been supplying locations with these now for the last 10 years. It took a lot of work to build up this aspect of the business and make people realise that the Goyas standards for good cakes and pastries could carry over into ready meals.
The first person to take supply of these was Harriet Leader of what was then Nimmos, followed by Connemara Hampers. The opportunity then arose to provide supply to Joyces Supermarket in Knocknacarra as well as Mortons of Galway in Salthill. You can now find their meals and cakes in both these locations as well as the Joyces branches in Athenry and Headford.
After nearly 30 years in this trade it was wonderful to see how much energy she still puts into all she does. Even when she talks about what she does you can still hear in her voice how much she loves it. An afternoon spent in the kitchen watching her work was a great experience. I’ve been in a lot of kitchens in my various lines of work and I’ve rarely seen one run so smoothly and fuss free. The cake being made while I was there was a special order for a good customer and when they told her what they needed she was happy to meet their request. This is just part of the Goyas ethos, always being willing to put in the work to give the highest level of service to the customer. This is all driven by Emers own commitment to what she’s spent her life building.
Its been a long journey, thats for sure. What started as just Emer and 1 other has now led to her having 16 employees and a reputation for the highest of standards in all aspects of her business. If you’re looking for your own special cake order you can contact Goyas by calling 091567010, check out their website to see more details about their products or simply call in to see Emer and her team at the cafe on Kirwans Lane
You can also see all the previous Art of The Craft installments here
If you’re interested in this project or know someone who would be a good candidate to have their skills showcased please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 0867279638. For general enquiries or prices for photography packages feel free to get in touch as well or use the contact form.