A TALENTED young baker is opening a Norton cake shop – despite being warned by doctors not to work.
Lilly Kirschmann, from Hartburn, has a painful spine condition but insists it’s years of work and staying active – not “walking on eggshells” – that has kept her healthy and fit.
At 32, she has already built up the successful Tasty Tarts sandwich bar and catering business with her sister Jenny Kirschmann, 36, but was forced to quit as she was “in agony”.
She has refused to let the condition hold her back and on Saturday, the pair opened their Norton High Street cake and baking supplies shop – also called Tasty Tarts.
Lilly said: “I’ve always dreamed about opening a cake shop and neither of us are getting any younger.
“We thought ‘if we don’t do it now, we never will’.”
Things got busy very quickly when the women opened their Yarm Lane sandwich shop a few years ago in Stockton.
“It was all homemade cooking,” says Lilly, “I was on my feet all day every day and catering every weekend too – I was in agony so had to stop.
“We sold the sandwich shop to two lovely girls but we’ve built up the Tasty Tarts name, so we kept it.
“We’ve always done outside catering. “I’ve always been of the mindset if you don’t work for it, you won’t get it. You have to put the hours in if you want to be successful.”
Lilly has severe (grade five) Spon- dylolisthesis – slippage of the vertebrae away from the spine – from years of dancing as a child.
“Luckily, it was low enough that it didn’t affect my spinal cord,” she says. “I’m fine – but I can’t bend forward at all.
“The specialists said be careful, walk on eggshells and don’t work; I ignored it.
“They could fuse together the area where it’s swollen but it’s a really dangerous operation and they don’t want to do it.
“There are a couple of people in America that have followed the surgeon’s advice and not moved around much, and they have deteriorated.
“The more active I am, the better I feel. I honestly think the years of working have helped.”
She hopes running the new venture with Jenny – a former RAF loadmaster, who worked on huge C17 cargo planes – will be less strenuous.
Tasty Tarts, which has taken over the former Peapods jewellery shop, will also include a retail space for cake-making supplies, cutters and boards.
“The only big place that sells what we will sell is in Washington, we want to provide supplies at good prices so people travel here,” Lilly added.
“I’ve always baked with my mam, she taught me everything I know. Now I’m passing it onto Jenny. She’s a superb decorator, very skilled. We’re best friends, like a little tag team.”
Lilly and Jenny Kirschmann who have opened Tasty Tarts on Norton High Street