What's the Way to a Man's Heart?

A new cookbook is offereing 'school tuck shop' food


Cherie Bevan (the cook), co-owner with Tass Tauroa (the baker). Picture / Supplied.

It’s a scientific fact that dudes dig donuts. Or chocolate custard bronuts, as they call them in The Cook and Baker’s new recipe book. Forget for a moment that sugar is shameful, bread is bad and dairy’s the devil. According to the Kiwi owners of the popular Bondi bakery, they’re life-affirming treats to be celebrated and savoured.

The book is brimming with cheesy brioche tarts, pies and scones, plus the rustic, naughty fare your grandmother used to feed you: afghans, ginger crunch, sally lunn ... not to mention a wicked-sounding salted caramel treat, known among their customers as “heroin slice”.

“People tell us it’s the kind of food they remember from the school tuck shop,” says Cherie Bevan (the cook), co-owner with Tass Tauroa (the baker). The pair worked together for 20 years before opening their own cafe in 2012 in the heart of Bondi Junction, at a time when bakeries were closing and health food stores were flourishing.

Inspired by their New Zealand childhood foodie memories, Cherie and Tass had faith they could tempt even the green smoothie fanatics. And they were right. Guilty-looking staff from neighbouring shops often slink through their doors.

“Everything in moderation,” says Tass. “You never know if you’ll be knocked over by a bus tomorrow, so just enjoy what you have. Fat is flavour. We Kiwis love butter. If you’re going to have butter, you might as well have lashings of it.”

“It’s ridiculous completely cutting out something from your diet,” adds Cherie, although the pair do cater to those looking for gluten-free products; their flourless chocolate cake is a best-seller.

Meanwhile, the flour they do use is organic, all of their jams are handmade and the honey comes from “Queen Latifah” and her minions on the cafe’s rooftop beehive. Not complete Bondi rebels, then.

Try The cook and Baker's Salted Caramel Slice Recipe.

The Cook and Baker, $55 is published by Murdoch Books.

The Cooker and Baker cookbook. Picture / Supplied.

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