Pillars of the Community
One hundred and ten years in the East End: When searching for a Pillar of the Community, they don’t come better established than Rinkoff Bakery. Rinkoffs have been serving their traditional challah breads, sourdoughs, cheesecakes, croissants and danish pastries, to the people of East London for over a century. Pretty solid credentials if you ask us!
We chatted to Jen and Debs, the great granddaughters of Hyman Rinkoff who founded the bakery in 1911. Hyman Rinkoff came to London from the Ukraine in the 1910s, and as a trained baker his skills were in demand at that time. He established the bakery in Whitechapel, which was a predominantly Jewish area, and used his own recipes to bake specialist breads, such as challah. Rinkoffs has remained a family business since the day it opened, and has acquired a long-serving, diverse team along the way.
The staff at Rinkoff hail from many different backgrounds, religions and ethnicities reflecting the community they are part of. ‘As a Jewish owned family business and living in a predominantly Jewish area for so long, we know how important diversity is to our business. The area is now much more multicultural so we wanted to reflect that in our business.’ Jen and Debs told us that they consider a lot of the staff as family members as they’ve worked with them for so many years. Their head baker Richard has been with Rinkoffs since he was 18, for over 30 years.
When we asked the sisters what community means to Rinkoff Bakery their answer was: ‘Community and East London go hand in hand for us’. They told us that many members of the local community have been coming to their shop since they were children, and although a lot of the Jewish community have now moved out of the area, they still have a few lifelong customers in their 70s and 80s. Rinkoffs endeavour to make their products inclusive and accessible to the whole community, for example, all of the meat used is halal and no animal fats are used in their products.
Whitechapel has seen a huge amount of change over the last 100 years, so to remain popular and relevant is a real testament to the quality of produce delivered by Rinkoffs. The ability to endure and adapt with changing times and tastes, whilst retaining the authenticity of their products, is what makes Rinkoff Bakery such a well-loved East End eatery. In recent years Rinkoffs introduced the Crodough- a cross between a croissant and doughnut- which unsurprisingly has gone down a storm!
Rinkoff Bakery was fortunate enough to remain open during the lockdowns of the Covid pandemic, and became somewhat of a focal point in the daily exercise routine of many locals. The wholesale part of their business was impacted considerably as many of their trade customers had to close, but this has been gradually building back up. The shops remained busy due to their loyal customers supporting local, independent businesses.
The Rinkoff team have got some exciting ideas for the future, including plans to open another retail outlet and perhaps even a baking school above their shop on Vallance Road. These ambitions are currently on the back burner due to the disruption of the pandemic, but watch this space!
If you want to show this East End institution some support, and to make sure the Rinkoff baking school becomes a reality one day, then the best way is by word of mouth. If you like what they make then tell a friend or post about it on social media! Rinkoffs have also recently launched a home delivery service so you can have a selection of their delicious baked goods delivered to your door.
Find out the latest about what’s happening at Rinkoffs by following @rinkoffbakery on social media. Be prepared for some serious Crodough cravings!