Scratch Patisserie: Back to Basics

From Scratch Patisserie burst on to the radar of South Australian foodies last year, and today, is a firmly entrenched part of Adelaide’s casual culinary scene. Australian Baking Business chats to one half of the team about the transient life of a pop-up pastry chef, and why it’s important to step outside the box.

Once a monthly market stall, From Scratch Patisserie is now the brand behind regular pop-up bakeries around the Adelaide CBD and a weekly stand at the Adelaide farmer’s market. And with a refurbished caravan providing an easily transportable home for a delicious array of Italian and French-inspired treats, it’s no wonder the patisserie is quickly garnering a name for itself.

From Scratch Patisserie is the brainchild of trained pastry chefs Jonny Pisanelli and Edwina Peoples, and was born out of snap decision to fill a vacancy at a designer market.

“About three years ago I was talking to a girl I had been at TAFE with who had worked with a patisserie to create a cupcake stall at the designer market. She told me there was a vacancy and Edwina and I spoke about it and thought it would be a good idea to try it out and see if people liked what we were making,” Jonny said.

“I remember we were in the car talking about it and I said we would have to come up with a good business name, and seeing we make everything from scratch, it seemed like the perfect way to market ourselves.”

The business evolved rapidly, growing from a monthly appearance at the designers market to a regular weekly stall, as well as a twice-weekly pop-up store. The move ensured Jonny and Edwina, who are still the sole employees in the business, never have a dull moment.

“It was something which started out as a little idea and now it’s our full-time job,” Jonny laughed.

“We work Sundays at the farmers markets and have a pop-up store Wednesdays and Fridays. We also do a little bit of wholesale, which we supply to cafés in the city to keep us ticking over.”

Preparation for the Sunday farmers markets beings on Tuesday and the days following are jam-packed with filling, glazing, icing, crumbling, piping, sifting, pouring and cutting.

“For something that is only two or three pop-ups a week, it is a full time job for us. Because it’s just the two of us and we’ve grown considerably at the markets, there’s always plenty of work for us,” Jonny said.

With a predominantly sweet line of products, the From Scratch team admits to being influenced by what’s happening on the food scene in Europe. Nonetheless, they’re also not afraid to put their own twist on products, creating pastries with names like Ugly Raspbettie, Pain in the Almond and She’s Apples – ensuring their customers enjoy giggle along with their pastry.

“We do offer a few little savouries like the Easy Peasy Ham ‘n’ Cheesy, but when we first started we thought if we try to do too many different things, then what we’re focusing on may be neglected and we won’t become as specialised,” Jonny explained.

“Early on, we made the conscious decision to focus more on the sweeter side when it comes to our products and unfortunately we’ve both got a bad sweet tooth!”

While the products themselves may be very much French and Italian-inspired, no doubt fuelled by Eddie and Jonny’s cross-continental travels, fresh local produce is at the heart of the couple’s baking philosophy.

“Being located at a farmer’s market, we’re very fortunate to have as much fresh produce as South Australia can offer at the time. So our flour, butter, cream and eggs are South Australian and obviously we get lots of fruit that’s in season so that’s made it quite easy for us,” Jonny said.

“But we do also look at what’s happening overseas in France because we want to adapt those modern techniques and modern delicacies but with a South Australian feel so it’s something the locals can associate with flavour-wise.”

Despite boasting a growing array of gourmet pastries, including cakes, éclairs, soufflé, Danish tarts and macarons, baking basics are always in the front of Jonny’s and Eddie’s minds.

“Pastry basics are the most pivotal things to get right, and if you do, everything else falls into place. Take the simple butter croissant for example, it helps to form the basis for most of our pastries,” Jonny said.

And from these basics – or versions of – completely new recipes have spawned.

“Some of our recipes have almost been a bit of a mistake where we’ve had a few bits of pastry left over and put some things together and it’s just worked. It’s great when you can make something out of nothing and it goes on to become a popular line that you can build on,” Jonny said.

“Those basic recipes are important because they’ve been around for so many years, and as a result, you have to pay homage to them and respect where they’ve come from.

“But at the same time, you must build on these basics; put your own spin on them and really make them your own.”

Inspired by all facets of European life, the duo both regularly travel overseas to be inspired and to learn new skills. Still, it’s their customers back home who keep Jonny and Edwina on their toes.

“I think it’s important to listen to the customer because they’re the ones paying your bills and obviously if something isn’t selling as well as other things you need to reassess it and see if there’s something you need to change,” Jonny said.

“Being based at the farmer’s market means a lot of our customers are very cluey in terms of what’s in season and what fruits are available. They are also very familar with what’s in fashion at that point in time.

“They keep us on our toes by saying ‘strawberries are coming in in a few weeks, are you doing anything with them?’ It’s great because we really can’t drop the ball.

“But also with a pop-up store in the city we have customers who are dressed to go to work so we can’t have any messy items because they need to eat them on the go. If they get a bundle of icing sugar on their beautiful black suit they’re not going to come back to us!”

The couple’s desire to please must be working, because From Scratch Patisserie has already outgrown their market stall. Jonny is even in the process of building a larger caravan and has high hopes of putting the wheels in motion to find a more permanent location in the near future.

“It’s our goal to have a full-time shop where everyone can come on a daily basis and not just at a pop-up or a farmer’s market,” Jonny explained.

“We want to have the opportunity to do the same thing every day but at the same time we also really want to be able to produce something that we’re proud of.

“We’re hoping that next year we’ll be able to really knuckle down and look at something more permanent, or otherwise maybe have pop-ups every day.”

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