The brothers have never doubted for a moment that they would create something unique. It was just a matter of when and where. They’re quite pleased that the ‘where’ turned out to be Bodø, since it’s become clear that the people of Bodø very much appreciate the business they’ve started in the city centre.
“Now that we have our own place, we can showcase our values and talent. We can use our own recipes and methods and follow our hearts. We hope we succeed in sharing the joy of newly baked artisan bread and a proper home-cooked meal,” says Ola Berbusmel.
Lars, 30, is the chef and Ola, 27, the baker that together make up Brødrene Berbusmel. They were raised in Ørnes by parents from Trønderlag. As children, they joined their parents on fishing trips and their catch would end up on the dinner table the following day as fish cakes. And with a grandfather who was a baker at a bakery in Orkdal back in the day and a grandmother who cooked at Samfunnet, it comes as no surprise that home cooking is the basis of their business.
The joy of bringing joy
There is no question that starting your own business is challenging.
“We knew it would be a lot of work, but didn’t realise the sheer amount of that work or how much we would have to sacrifice to make it happen. It cost us quite a lot of our free time and time with our families, but has also made us appreciate our spare time in a whole new way. The reward is experiencing success and getting to do things on our own terms. It’s given us more self-confidence and belief in what we have to offer,” says Ola.
“We’re very pleased with the result, namely a business with the family name on the front door. The experience is a more personal one when the person at the cash register has the same name as the business and is the one who prepared your meal,” says Lars, and adds,
“It may sound a bit like a cliché, but the bakery is our second home. It’s a wonderful place to walk into to when all the lights are on and it’s filled with the smell of freshly baked bread. The possibility to maintain the tradition of this craft in a branch with a tremendous pressure to succeed means a tremendous amount to us.
The bakery and delicatessen are thriving.” Apart from hard work and 14 dedicated employees, Ola believes that much of the secret behind their success lies in the concept.
“I think it’s because it all looks homemade and tastes homemade. We make everything from scratch, which is important to us. We don’t use any semi-finished products. All of the flavours are our own. And I think people appreciate this.”
The brothers also feel strongly about using ingredients from local suppliers and small-scale producers.
“We can explain exactly where the food originates. We know that the pigs live the good life at Solvold farm and that the sheep were raised on Røst in impeccable conditions,” says Lars.
A house full of life
That they had high ambitions comes as no surprise. Among other positions, Lars has been the sous-chef at Renaa Matbaren and the head cook at Hundholmen. Not only that, but he started his own pop-up restaurant in an abandoned school on Mesøya, where guests were brought in by boat to enjoy a unique culinary experience – obviously primarily prepared using local ingredients and products from small-scale producers. His newest goal is to develop the bakery further.
“My dream is to have a place where the lights are on day and night. A place where food is served all day long, from breakfast in the morning to dinner in the evening. And when the last guests walk out the door, the baker walks in. It would be a house full of life at all times and a second home for guests.
The fact that it is an artisan bakery means that everything is made from scratch. Every single loaf of French country bread and cinnamon roll is created by hand. Making sure that the mixture ratios are always perfect demands a certain sensitivity that cannot entrusted to a machine.
“You might say that the French country bread is my baby. It contains a combination of sourdough and a dash of yeast. Everything from the shape of the dough to the mixture ratio must be absolutely correct for the result to be just right. It needs to have the right rustic look and the right flavour. This is the one baked product I’m most self-critical about and work hard every single night to make sure it’s perfect,” says Ola.
He still uses his grandfather’s handwritten recipe book when baking Christmas bread – or ‘Christmas cake’ as they call it in Orkdal.
Soul in the centre
When the topic shifts to the death of urban centres and city facilities, the brothers are in no doubt that Bodø has what it takes to survive – and thrive.
“I’m impressed by how Bodø has managed to combat urban decline. After all, the city’s soul is found in its centre. It’s teeming with life here and it’s nice to see that, when the idea to relocate the cinema comes up for debate, support comes from every direction and efforts are made to help maintain a living centre. This shows that the city has potential. There’s nothing like walking through the Glasshuset when it’s decked out in Christmas lights,” says Ola. Lars agrees.
“Bodø now has much of what was missing when I moved away ten years ago. Over the past few years, the city has really flourished, thanks to places like Stormen, Hundholmen and the climbing centre at Mørkved.
“The bakery fits in perfectly with this development. If I were to mention one fault it would be that we could use a good fish restaurant. After all, the ingredients are found just outside the front door.”