Who said youngsters should spend less time on their phones? Callebaut called on young bakers to post their creations on social media for their chance to win a spot on the demo stage at the Smooth Festival of Chocolate – where James took crown and glory.
With more than 15,000 Instagram followers, James knows how to work a hashtag. After experimenting in his own kitchen, he now supplies a range of muffins, doughnuts, truffles, cakes and macarons to cafés around Sydney under the name Nutorious.
At just 22, James is midway through studying a commerce and law degree. Nonetheless, the high achiever is most passionate about his baking. With no training under his belt, he has learnt from trial and error, and by following the best in Sydney’s burgeoning foodie culture.
“If you are passionate enough, and have the dedication, anyone can be a pastry chef,” he says.
With so much drive, it’s no surprise his bakery business is booming. In the kitchen, he’s a one-man-band: a mean feat by anyone’s standard, but particularly impressive when you find out he makes every aspect of his creations from scratch, including sauces and toppings.
Mostly using muffins as his canvas, James recreates vivid reflections of his childhood, his travels and his surroundings through innovative flavours. Whether this incorporates a taste of his favourite dessert, his local café’s staple sweet, or a nationally-loved chocolate bar, his baked goods are sentimental – but there’s nothing nostalgic about their presentation.
Gregariously laden with Allens strawberry and cream lollies, chopped up bananas or Arnott’s Scotch Fingers biscuits, his muffins clearly follow contemporary bakery trends where biggest is best. With a nod to Katherine Sabbath and Andy Bowdy, the caramel is oozing and the chocolate dribbling; the perfect still life for the Instagram lens.
Check out James’ creations for yourself at Instagram (@nutorious_) and on the Baking with Nutorious YouTube channel.
Photo: Nutorious owner-operator James Sidiers Winner of Callebaut’s Young Inspirers competition