Back in 2016, sisters-in-law Jodie Laming and Nic Girard took over The Cook and Baker, a charming bakery in a quiet corner of Bondi Junction. Six years on they’ve moved into a larger, handsome new space across the road, with two more bakeries in the pipeline.
The colourful hole-in-the-wall bakehouse was was originally a love letter to the bakeries the former owners had adored growing up in New Zealand. A bright mural occupied the back wall, vintage trays overflowed with cream-laden cakes and sugar-jewelled doughnuts, and prices were hand-drawn onto colourful cards. The new location’s aesthetic is slightly more contemporary – with black-panelled walls and shelves neatly stacked with jars of granola and popcorn all handmade on-site – but the glorious baked treats haven’t gone anywhere. The long glass cabinet at the side of the store is stacked with the goods that have gained The Cook and Baker its following: dense salted caramel brownies, its signature cream-stuffed, sugar-dusted doughnuts, and a growing range of sweet and savoury pastries.
“People keep coming back because we love what we do and that shows through the food,” Laming tells Broadsheet. In line with its bigger space, the menu at The Cook and Baker’s new store has also grown. There’s a gluten-free hazelnut meringue cake, two new savoury tarts and a vegan coconut and vanilla tower. Other favourites on the menu include a zesty lemon drizzle cake, cinnamon brioche and seasonally inspired lamingtons: passionfruit and white chocolate in the summer and a rich dark chocolate through the winter months.
“We’re still doing everything we used to do, we’re just growing, and that involves playing with new ideas and recipes because that’s part of what baking is all about,” Laming says.
The ethos of “creating with thought, making with love and sharing with pleasure” guides Laming and Girard, and is evident through everything from the playful, nostalgia-laced menu to the queues of keen customers that form outside the store every weekend.
Alongside its baked goods, The Cook and Baker serves up loaded toasties, veggie wraps and a stacked Tuscan tuna sandwich. The family-run team also offers milkshakes, smoothies and Single O coffee, while handmade jams, pickles and packets of biscotti sit beside The Cook and Baker cookbook on the neatly stacked wooden shelves.
Behind the counter, the team of bakers crafts artistically decorated cakes and fruit-loaded danishes. The new store has also allowed The Cook and Baker to expand its catering menu with a range of salads, pies, finger sandwiches, frittatas and tarts available for pre-order and delivery.
The Cook and Baker is also set to launch two new stores in the coming months. The first is slated to open in Woolooware at the end of the year as part of the Shark Park development, and a second in June in Lane Cove.