Over the course of just three weeks, Australian pastry and dessert chefs Andre Sandison and Tawnya Bahr, along with Shane and Vanessa from Five Spice Creative, managed to pull the baking, pastry, chocolate and dessert industry together for a mammoth fundraiser for bushfire relief.
Desserts 4 Difference aimed to raise money for the Australian Red Cross by rallying dessert makers not just in Australia but all around the world (including Dominique Crenn’s Boutique Crenn and Boudin Bakeries from San Francisco and Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana from Modena, Italy) to create a special dessert for the event, the proceeds of which would go to the appeal.
It took no time for businesses to start signing up, and by the big date on Saturday, February 8, over 70 different dessert-focused businesses, confectioners and suppliers had donated product, money, materials and resources as well as their time. Patisseries, bakeries restaurants, wholesalers, hotels, and cafes were all involved by donating a portion of sales, creating bespoke desserts or collaborating with industry associates via degustations or pop up events.
Andre said the idea for the fundraiser was off the back of an earlier fundraiser in December started by Urban Grain Bakery in Port Macquarie, where the bakery raised money for rural fire fighters in that area.
“What we enjoyed about this was the opportunity to connect as an industry and do something good for the community,” he said.
“This became the foundation for Desserts 4 Difference. When we saw how bad the fires actually got over the next 5 weeks, we decided to do it again, give it a name and make it global.
Some of the founding dessert businesses included Urban Grain Bakery, Messina Gelato , Textbook Patisserie, Continental Patisserie, and a handful of industry colleagues who donated their time such Adriano Zumbo and Dean Gibson.
“All of these attended the pop up event generously hosted by Messina on Saturday, plus we had Saga, Stix catering, Sonoma, and Madame and Yves.
We raised $7.5k at this event despite lots of rain and sold out of most products. But the real value is the diversity of businesses who wanted to participate and the strong sense of community within industry and connections reinforced with consumers in a positive way to support bushfire affected families via the Australian Red Cross.
“It really resonated with a lot of businesses and consumers alike and is an easy way for industry to support community doing what they do every day!”
While the final donations haven’t been tallied yet, Andre expects it to reach around $30,000 – an incredible effort!