Introduction

Introduction

By
Michael James, Pippa James
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781743793206
Photographer
Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson

This book is a reflection of our bakery at a moment in time, and also of our belief that the food we eat shapes our interactions with the world and each other. My aim is for you to be able to recreate what we make at Tivoli Road and enjoy what we see and do every day. I also want to demonstrate the importance of the raw ingredients we use, and have highlighted some of the wonderful suppliers who help us in our journey. In many instances the produce that is available to us at any given time informs what we can make, and these primary producers really are heroes in our eyes.

Pippa and I met working at a restaurant in London. I had moved there from Cornwall aged eighteen after qualifying as a chef, and Pippa was doing the Aussie-on-a-working-holiday thing. I worked in all the sections of the kitchen, and found I enjoyed pastry the most. From there I started learning about different types of bread, and then Viennoiserie pastry, and I knew I had found my vocation. I gained experience in Michelin-starred kitchens, pastry shops and bakeries, picking up knowledge along the way. Pippa continued to work managing restaurants in London, Sydney and Melbourne, until we bought the bakery.

Our primary aim since day one has always been to maintain quality in the product, be that the bread we make, the pies, pastries, cakes or coffee, or the service we offer. One unexpected by-product of this is a sense of community that is truly amazing. Tivoli Road is really a network of relationships, between us and our staff, our suppliers and our loyal customers. One of our customers commented on this, noting that at the bakery he had met neighbours he’d lived beside for twenty years but hadn’t known until we opened. Another couple who met at the bakery are about to get married. Something in our small space draws people in and makes them want to be part of the club.

This is an exciting time in Australian food culture, with native ingredients becoming more accessible and widely used. They haven’t been used much in modern baking, and we love exploring ways to incorporate them into what we do. We talk all the time with colleagues, growers and suppliers, always wanting to find ingredients that we haven’t used before so we can keep learning.

Tivoli Road Bakery is located in a rapidly developing area in Melbourne, with a seemingly endless population boom supported by multiple high-rise apartment developments. In the early days, every time a new cafe opened and we got a bit nervous about the competition, we reminded each other to focus on doing what we do to the best of our ability. Over time the white noise has faded and it’s become easier to maintain that focus.

What we do isn’t magic, it’s the result of excellent ingredients, years of trial and error, and dedication to an ancient craft. I hope you can use our recipes and tips to create great food at home to share with the people you love.

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