‘It started with Cheesecake’– Woody Leonard
Add moved to Phuket in September 2000 to become the manager of the first Starbucks on the island. Woody moved to Phuket in December 2000. As a computer book writer and tech blogger, he could live anywhere with an internet connection, and Phuket topped the list.
Woody would jog on Patong Beach every morning with his two dogs, stopping by Starbucks on the way. Add remembered him as a ‘Grande Low-Fat Latte’ and played with the dogs. Back then as now, Starbucks Phuket had tremendous coffee — just as good as in the States. Back then it had absolutely inedible food.
Fast forward a few months and Add offered to make Woody a cheesecake. Woody expected a typical Thai white sheetcake with shortening on the top. What he got instead was an epiphany: a genuine to-die-for New York style baked cheesecake. Woody begged Add to start a bakery, just to get good food into Starbucks. It took him more than a year, but Add finally left job, and Khun Woody’s Bakery was born soon after.
The bakery’s first big order came when the Starbucks Operations manager in Bangkok called Woody with a panic request. ‘Our sandwich supplier in Phuket says he won’t deliver tomorrow. Can you help?’ Soon Khun Woody’s Bakery was supplying all of the food to Starbucks on the island, and it has helped it grow from that initial one Patong Beach shop to eight shops, all over Phuket. Starbucks still serves Khun Woody’s Bakery food exclusively; the folks there remain our good friends and best customer.
In the early years, Add and Woody worked out of their home kitchen, up at 5:00 every morning. Then came the employees (many of whom still work for the bakery) and all the accoutrements of a modern bakery. The latest factory now occupies a 3-storey building in Kathu district, near Patong, operated and inspected to Western FDA-class standards.
In January 2014, with Andy’s education in mind, Add, Woody and Andy started to split their time between Phuket and Nashville, Tennessee. In June 2014, Add introduced a new partner into the bakery, Donald McCulloch, to help run the business locally.
Donald, who is Scottish/Japanese, raised in Scotland, has spent the past 30 years living and working in Asia, mainly based in Tokyo and Singapore. He and his wife fell in love with Phuket through visits to the island whilst living in Singapore. Like Add and Woody, Donald has a great passion for authentic gourmet food, both Western and Asian, and is enthusiastic about supporting and delighting Khun Woody’s customers, and seeking out new ones the bakery can serve. He and his wife, Kiyomi, live in Phuket full-time with their two sons and two Jack Russell Terriers.