To Sit Or Not To Sit

September 1, 2015 § 11 Comments

The bakery is very nearly two years old. How time has flown by. It is sometimes overwhelming the support that we have received from the local community, so much so that we have grown well beyond my expectations or wildest dreams.

Our original customers will agree the bakery has evolved from, its humble beginings. We have continued to fill the space with more equipment, more storage and more staff to cater to the ever increasing demand for our product. From the very beginning it has been the customers that have determined the trajectory of my little bakery, and we have been at your mercy and we are here to service your needs as part of the community of Maryville and Newcastle.

The greatest request from customers since the day we opened the doors has been for more seating. People have left chairs outside, donated, for the bakery to use for our customers. We have had customers request more seating, we have even on occasion had people scream at me ‘But why not?!’ The simple answer is that we are not allowed.

Photo Credit Justin Aaron Photography. From a dinner we hostyed at the bakery a few months ago.

Photo Credit Justin Aaron Photography.
From a dinner we hosted at the bakery a few months ago.

Unfortunately it is not a simple process of purchasing more seating and putting them out for customers to sit.

As part of the original consent for the bakery’s Development Application with Newcastle City Council a limit was placed on the chairs I can provide for customers.

The Council has been recently required to respond to regular complaints from one of our neighbours about our operations and has asked us to review our seating arrangements. We currently are unaware of who is making the complaints, or even what the specifics of the complaints are, but in due course we would like to find out so as we can address these concerns concisely. We only wish that this person would have come to us first so as we could include their specific concerns in our future planning.

It is really unfortunate that this neighbour did not come and talk to us first before requesting the Council to intervene.

We have recently put together a new DA in to try and increase this number and to change the usage of an extra part of the bakery that we would like to use as a cheese room and event space. Unfortunately we were asked by council to withdraw the application, as it would be rejected on the grounds that they had received these regular complaints from one of our neighbours.

This is where things get a little complicated and it becomes a zoning issue, the bakery is in an area of Maryville zoned industrial, when you drive down Downie St. and you realise that there are many residence in the area that is zoned industrial. But as you look around Downie and the neighbouring streets, you can’t help but ask yourself ‘are we zoned correctly?’ Are we industrial, residential, or should we be mixed use? Maybe that is something for the politicians to consider.

The objectives of the current zoning as stated by council documentation are:

  • To provide a wide range of light industrial, warehouse and related land uses.
  • To encourage employment opportunities and to support the viability of centres.
  • To minimise any adverse effect of industry on other land uses.
  • To enable other land uses that provides facilities or services to meet the day-to-day needs of workers in the area.
  • To support and protect industrial land for industrial uses.

Outside of this, I believe we are helping to create a more community focused city, where people are shopping at a local business, they are employed by a local and we are building something local.

The reality of removing chairs and not fully realising this area of the business is service staff will loose hours. I have tried to strike a careful balance between manufacturing and retail; this has benefit as a more enjoyable place to work where we can engage directly with the public as the product is being made. I know we have many customers who a frustrated that we don’t open earlier. I have however always kept in mind our residential neighbours by not applying to operate earlier. You will notice taking into account our residential neighbours is not an objective of the zone, but something that I take very seriously with every decision I make about the bakery. I have demand for a product and service that we provide I am offering employment to quite a few people, and have an opportunity to employ more people if we can work through our current issues. We have exciting plans for the future. However if this continues I will have to let staff go from the retail section of our business. Perhaps even close retail sales all together.

We are working with council at the moment and will be re-submitting a development application to try maintain a viable business, that is both a pleasure to visit for customers, but also to continue to offer employment opportunities to the community. As part of this we would like to teach cooking classes, hold occasional dinners, and open up a cheese shop in the remaining part of the building, something that we only hope contributes more to our local community. If there are any concerns from our neighbours or anybody else in the local community, we would like to hear from you so as we can integrate these with our plans for the future.

We are here not only to serve, but be part of building a local community and a vibrant Newcastle City.

Photo Credit Justin Aaron Photography

Photo Credit Justin Aaron Photography


Oh crap it is August already

August 9, 2015 § 2 Comments

My friend Ollie has been giving me a big push up the backside to start what I promised I would start doing months ago, so here goes. In an attempt to stop his nagging and with promise of the smoking hot photographs that he will take, I will share some of the things going on here at the bakery. Starting with a special we ran today. We usually serve Bakers Oven Baked Beans with poached eggs in a brioche shell but today we had a bunch of extra brioche shells that needed using and haven’t run a sweet special for a while. I wanted to make a soft yoghurt mousse after a bit of kitchen banter we collectivley settled on infusing lemon verbena in the cream and honey poched pears and strawberries to top it off.

I really like this soft mousse or maybe it is more of a cream if you would like to try it here is the recipe.

Lemon Verbena Yoghurt Cream

300g Cream (35% Fat)

80g lemon verbena

150g organic sugar

2  titanium gelatine leaves bloomed

350g greek yoghurt

250g cream whipped to stiff peaks

Heat the cream, sugar and lemon verbena over the stove until it simmers remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine and set aside to cool. Strain the infused cream over the yoghurt and whisk until completly incorporated. Fold a small amount of the whipped cream into the yoghurt mixture at a time until it is well combined and pour into a container to set in the fridge.

Lemon verbina pear brioche

Photographer’s note:

Hello Oliver here,

Part of my solemn duty as photographer of this creation was to eat it after staring at it for fifteen minutes through a lens, and given Alice isn’t one to toot her own horn it is also my solemn duty to toot it for her. However I must abandon solemnity and duty in reporting that this is ball out delicious and also surprisingly light, that is not to say that I could finish the whole thing, because I couldn’t I had to share it with Seth who assembled it for me.

Apparently part of the recipe came to Alice in a dream, and I can only blush having eaten what I assume was a very good, honey covered, slightly sticky and sweet dream.

I will now perform 100 sit ups.



Pop Up Store

January 30, 2015 § 1 Comment

We are hosting a valentines pop up shop next to the bakery. I am making confectionary, Kamisha from Little Wren Flowers is selling her beautiful flower bunches, and Kyle from Cheese Mongrel will be putting together cheese boxes. This will be the first of I hope many exciting uses of this space over the next year.Pop Up Poster

Citrus, Thyme and Honey Tart

April 28, 2010 § 6 Comments

I got a phone call the other day from my friend Ben who owns a cafe called III Bean; “Would I be interested in making the dessert for a set menu Autumn dinner? The main course is meatballs”. After a quick discussion we settled on a citrus tart, as lemons are just starting to come into season and limes are still abundant in my garden.

The special ingredient in this tart is the honey produced just the road from my house. I only noticed a little sign in the window of a house when walking my dog about three weeks ago (“honey for sale $2 and $3), so I knocked on the door and a man came out and said that he had none left; but come back in a couple of weeks and he would be taking his last harvest from the hive before winter. I promptly walked straight over to the house after this phone call to see if he had harvested any honey yet, and I was greeted by the bee keeper in the middle of his harvest. The hive is kept in his garden all year round, the bees travel up to 2 kilometers which means they may just fly past III Bean Cafe, and perhaps they pollinated the citrus in my garden.

Today I have to make 75 Citrus, Thyme and Honey Tarts….

Another Year Has Begun……

February 20, 2010 § 2 Comments

I can’t belive it has been so long since I last posted. Christmas and New Year came and went, and before I knew it I was back in the kitchen baking again. I have been coming to terms with the less exciting side of running a business, sorting through the the pile of paperwork, reconciling my accounts, creating recipe spreadsheets and all that stuff. Which once you get started you really wonder why you had been putting it off for so long.

I now have two new customers! This is exciting, but time management is now much more important, no more cups of tea as I wait for a batch of muffins to finish baking. I now have to be working on to the next process or  preparing for the following day. This is starting to feel like a real business.

Kitchen Garden

July 31, 2009 § Leave a comment

The kitchen I use to do my baking in is in a archetypal Australian “Bowling Club” it is surrounded by sports fields parks and a wonderful community garden. They sell me any spare eggs and let me use their herbs in my baking.

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