In honour of International Cake Day on Saturday 26 November, we sat down with Alessandra Zaccaradi, the Pastry Sous Chef at Treasury Brisbane to sift through the passion and the heart that goes into making some of the best cakes in the river city.
There’s a lot to love about cakes. From the creamy richness of a good tiramisu or the velvety sponge of a teacake, to the burst of spice in a carrot cake or zing of citrus in a lemon meringue, there are few foods that feed the soul quite like cake does.
And, for Alessandra Zaccardi, the Pastry Sous Chef at Treasury Brisbane, cake has been a life-long passion.
“My grandmother was a pastry chef so I grew up in the kitchen. After I finished school, I went into technical training. At first I focused just on savoury – you know, normal cookery – but after a while I decided to go back to my roots and specialise in pastry.”
Eventually, Alessandra’s career led her to Treasury, where she now leads a team of talented pastry chefs to create the hundreds of pastries served across Treasury’s many restaurants – from the bite-sized sweet treats served at high tea at The Lab and the seasonal desserts placed in the cake display in Kitchen At Treasury to doughnuts and cookies used as catering for banquets, and even the personalised cakes guests can order for special occasions and celebrations.
“It’s a busy job. I’m not sure how many cakes we get through in a week. But, if I only count the cakes that we create for Kitchen At Treasury, we make about 700 pieces a week. And, that’s just for one venue!”
But, while hundreds of cakes a week sounds like a challenge to the average pastry chef, it is the variety and freedom for creativity that have spurred Alessandra on.
“I love having the chance to tap into different countries and cultures depending on the season, or the event we are catering for. One week, we might be making a German apple strudel. The next, a Paris-Brest in honour of France.”
Of course, the one ingredient she always comes back to is chocolate. But even then, Alessandra tries out new ways of bringing cocoa to life in her sweet creations.
“I absolutely love chocolate! I try to use different types of chocolate and get the team to taste test for me. We’ve started making a lot of chocolate decorations on our cakes, using different colours and textures to make the cakes a little more funky and interesting.”
This life-long passion and commitment for cake and pastries is something Alessandra works hard to pass down to her team, who she encourages to be creative and innovate in order to not only keep things fresh for the customers but help inspire each other too.
“I’m really proud of my team. I always try to get their input, their ideas and flavours, their creations happening in real life because I want everybody to feel proud of what we’re serving. All the cakes we serve in Kitchen At Treasury are proudly made by the pastry team, right from the beginning and I think that’s helped the team enjoy and love what we are doing and be more proud of it.”
Beyond the team, it’s the positive feedback from customers and guests that keep Treasury Brisbane’s pastry team’s fire burning.
“We do this for the customers. It’s always night to know you’ve made someone’s birthday or celebrations nicer with a cake. It’s a great feeling.”
To add an extra sweet note to your next celebration, book in to taste one of Alessandra’s desserts at Treasury Brisbane now, or fill out a form to order a personalised version created especially for your loved one now.