It’s a tough job being related to pastry chef Gareth Williams.
For the past few months he has been experimenting in the kitchen to “get the menu just right” for his new pop-up bakery venture Covered in Crumbs. And his taste testers?
You guessed it.
“I have been cooking for friends and family to test flavours and different combinations, including doing a friend’s engagement cake a few weeks ago,” Williams told Food & Wine.
This Saturday, November 18, all of Williams’ hard work will have paid off. His first official Covered in Crumbs pop-up event is at Sherwood Coffee Bar, Newcastle West, from 8am to noon. It has been a labour of love for Williams, head pastry chef at Restaurant Mason in Newcastle, and his wife Paula.
“We couldn’t be more excited,” he said.
“We have done a few jobs leading up to this over the past few months, including a dessert table for a wedding and a high tea at Dark Horse Vineyard which enabled us to test some ideas and products. We got a really positive response which was great to hear.”
Williams, who was in the winning Hunter Culinary Association Food Fight team this year and whose dessert was voted the most popular dish of the day, will be offering “classic bakery items with a modern flavour twist”.
One of his creations is the strawberry and liquorice tart with liquorice pastry cream, fresh and freeze-dried strawberries and violet flowers. Another is the gluten-free brownie with blackberry, walnut and white chocolate, dusted with toasted cocoa, mandarin and star anise powder.
“Some of our bakery favourites will be making an appearance including the canelé, chocolate tart, sausage rolls and bread with the addition of our cultured butter,” he said.
“We have been experimenting with different flavour profiles and textures yet still sticking with some classic bakery favourites. We like to put our own unique and modern approach forward to help create something unexpected.”
Williams is particularly excited about his lamb, pecorino and sunflower sausage roll, and the roasted carrot, silverbeet and ricotta vegetarian option.
A lot of thought has gone into the menu. It’s a balance of practical and creative, traditional and modern.
“The customer has the chance to purchase something in the morning to have with their coffee, something sweet for their afternoon tea and some bread and butter to take home for dinner time,” Williams explained.
Head chef and owner of Restaurant Mason – Chris Thornton – is behind Williams all the way, just as Frank Fawkner of EXP. restaurant has supported chef Josh Gregory’s pop-up dining venture, Hunter.
“Chris has been very supportive with me wanting to explore this new venture – I have always been very open with him about what I want to do in the future. It’s great to have the support of your current employer and to be able to ask for advice.”
Covered in Crumbs will pop up again “just before Christmas” and people will be able to place orders for Christmas Day.