They opened their boutique pastry doors back in 2008, and Black Star Pastry has certainly been buttering up its customers ever since. It's safe to say that this pastry house has used its fair share of watermelons since their signature strawberry watermelon cake hit the dessert big leagues in 2016 and sent social media into overdrive.
With extensive queues, copious amounts of orders and word-of-mouth popularity creating much buzz, their sweet and savoury offerings have propelled them into bakery stardom. Pastry chef, owner and sweet scientist Christopher Thé tells SBS, “It [watermelon cake] was just another cake we did,” and how big it’s become has even marvelled Thé himself. “You never know what’s going to hit the right spot, the right timing, and we had no idea this would be as big as it’s been. There are many versions popping up here and around the world and I take it as a compliment,” he tells SBS.
So when we launched #BringBackTheClassics @SBSFood at the beginning of November, Thé was jumping at the chance to recreate a piece of childhood nostalgia – and that comes in the form of the ol’ faithful "snot-block", the vanilla slice. Thé was born and bred in Sydney and recalls some of his childhood food memories in the form of fried eggs and spam and that velvety and always mesmerising dessert dream, the Vienetta.
He loves his Vegemite on toast as well, revealing to SBS, "At Black Star we use Vegemite in a lot of our meat mixes that go into our pies." Mind blown!
Thé’s imagination certainly hasn’t taken a back seat. Alongside his Black Star team - who play a key role in allowing his ideas to come to life - those glass cabinets are brimming with ideas that have come to life across his Newtown, Rosebery and Sydney CBD locations. And now he take his pastry production dreams next-level with his newly opened Moore Park location. It's not your usual-looking Black Star bakery. This 500 square-metre block houses a transparent café as well as a glass-enclosed production kitchen, where customers can watch all the magic happen and in Thé's words "more space and freedom to be even more creative". (Tip: keep your eyes peeled on Instagram.) Inside, it’s got an ultrasonic cake cutter, walk-in cool rooms, industrial-sized mixers and pressure cookers. Coming in December is an egg-cracking machine, which will basically allow them to separates whites from yolks - genius!
But don’t let these futuristic gadgets distract you because Thé still plans to maintain the “handmade quality and feel” that has allowed him to get to where he is today. His real taste philosophy shines through and he shares the importance of flavour; “Something can look beautiful but if the flavour isn’t there, then it can really miss the mark,” he tells SBS. “Colour and flavour associations are like triggers and it's about that finding that right balance.”
If his brand-new bakery playground is anything to go by, it's full-steam ahead for the Black Star Pastry team.
Get your hands on your own Vanilla Slice Slice Baby, available now at their Moore Park store and it will also feature on the menu at their other locations as well.
(Leaves work immediately, because it's vanilla slice, people.)
Here are their vanilla slice recipes
For more info on their stores and locations, opening hours and what's on their menu check out Black Star Pastry here.
Feeling nostalgic? Welcome to #BringBackTheClassics!