What do you do when you live on one of the most famous stretches of australia’s shoreline but you don’t like the beach? make pastries, of course. adrian grazioli tells us about patisserie life on the gold coast.
Adrian Grazioli grew up on the Gold Coast. The child of restaurateurs, Adrian grew up in Bundall, the suburb where his parents owned and ran Riviera restaurant since he was a kid.
“I was always around and into food,” he says.
“My parents have been in hospitality for over 40 years, so I grew up in it.”
Adrian moved to Melbourne to learn the fine art of patisserie, studying at William Angliss Institute while completing an apprenticeship at Brunettes under the mentorship of James Stone and Stephane Bordes; it’s this education that influenced the French/Italian style Adrian’s now known for.
“I learnt at an Italian patisserie with a French chef,” he says, citing quality, love for cooking, and passion as his major drawcards to cooking.
While the cooler climate of Melbourne appealed to him, Adrian always planned on returning to the Gold Coast, and bringing the Melbourne pastry vibe back with him.
“I was always going to come back and open a shop here,” he says.
“The move to Melbourne was only to learn.”
After returning to Queensland, Adrian started making macarons from home and selling them to friends before trying his hand in the wholesale industry. Soon, he was selling celebration cakes from his online store.
In 2014, it was time to open his own patisserie in the name of The Pastry Emporium, which he opened in his familiar surrounds of Bundall.
“My father started the restaurant in Bundall 30 years ago and I have lived in that neighbourhood most of my life,” says Adrian.
The Bundall patisserie was then followed by a second store, opening at Mermaid Waters late last year. The Mermaid store sits alongside other foodie offerings such as woodfired pizza, Asian fusion takeaway and raw-food outlets, and attracts more foot traffic than the tucked-away Bundall store.
Adrian says the Mermaid store has a different demographic with clientele there wanting different things.
“[People at Mermaid Waters] want more savoury: pies and sausage rolls,” he says.
While much of Adrian’s clientele is made up of locals and his success from word of mouth, he says social media has also grown his brand.
“Instagram has brought a lot of other people to us.”
On offer at The Pastry Emporium are entrements, petit gateau, macarons, Viennoisserie and bespoke cakes, along with a breakfast and lunch menu with beer, wine and cocktails.
Coeliacs and people avoiding gluten are well catered for with goodies such as My Passion Slice—a flourless brownie containing milk chocolate mousse with a passionfruit creamy layer. The St Tropez cheesecake, with its bright red glaze, is also a favourite among locals.
But it’s the classic croissant that Adrian holds dearest, naming it as his favourite pastry to make—as well as to eat.
Of course lots of croissants means lots of butter, and Adrian has responded to the recent hike in butter prices by reusing offcuts.
“We try to reuse everything. We make our croissant scraps and offcuts into different products, so there is no wastage.”
Along with retail at both stores, The Pastry Emporium also supplies their pastries wholesale—an area of the business in steady growth.
“Our wholesale is getting stronger and stronger,” says Adrian, who, among others, supplies the Gold Coast Convention Centre.
“When they order, it’s big,” he says.
“We also did the Gold Coast 600 two years ago and we did 2,500 mini croissants for one morning.”
He adds, “We are concentrating on wholesale more at the moment but always keep an eye on retail.”
The weather on the Gold Coast is hot and sticky for much of the year, and this climate is something Adrian has to counter during his cooking processes. He says humidity makes working with croissants especially difficult.
“Aircon is a must,” he says.
“Also, we change our ratios of some recipes, like more chocolate in our ganaches.”
Bulk proving is also affected by heat, with Adrian reducing proving times over summer.
Adrian says that while the climate between Melbourne and the Gold Coast differ, and while people in Melbourne tend to go out later for their coffee and cake, the clientele are basically all after the same thing.
“Everyone wants quality product and value for money,” he says.
So what does Adrian do during his time off? More work, he says, along with frequenting the gym as well as dining out.
“I don’t like the beach…sorry,” he says.
But that’s okay. The beach’s loss is the pastry scene’s gain, we think.