Renowned dessert king Adriano Zumbo’s love of all things sweet goes back to childhood – a time when his parents owned a supermarket and he would fill his schoolbag with lollies.
He’ll be creating sweet treats to excite the senses at Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival, which is on from August 19-21 at Apex Park, Woody Point.
“I used to play around in the supermarket which had an instore bakery, so I used to play around in there after school – I had to work most days after school,” he tells Moreton Daily.
For him, becoming a chef offered an escape from school, his parents’ supermarket and the small country town they called home.
“I left at 15 and took on an apprenticeship down in Sydney. I grew up in a small country town in central west New South Wales (Coonamble). My sister is older than me, so I moved in with her. It started and I just loved it. It was something I really enjoyed. It was fun, it kept me focused and I found it relaxing,” Adriano explains.
|“I was fulfilled. You know when you do something and it’s like oh. It’s awesome.”|
That was in 1997 and since then he’s worked with and learnt from some of the best in the industry in Australia and France.
Now based on the Sunshine Coast, he has also been a regular on Australian TV screens, appearing on MasterChef Australia, Zumbo’s Just Desserts and Sugar Rush.
“I love the creativity of it – the textures, the flavours and the combinations. I think the challenge is trying to make something delicious. It’s easy to make something super sweet – you can get a packet of chocolate, caramel and candies and chuck it in and it will be super sweet,” he says.
“There’ll be a certain person who will like that – they’re probably not looking for the characteristics of balance. (For me) it’s all about exciting the senses – when you eat something and it’s got that crunch or this jelly layer … you can feel it all. It’s exciting the mind. I think that’s what it’s all about.”
In Adriano’s view, a great dish or dessert is one that’s memorable.
|“It’s not about how good it looks. I find a lot of people focus on how it looks and then inside it’s a bit lack-lustre … they haven’t thought about it a lot because it’s all about how good it’s going to look,” he says.|
“I think the memory comes from the textures, the experiences and all those kinds of things. If you eat something that’s delicious, it’s crunchy and soft, cold and hot and all these things … you go wow, this is amazing I’d like this again. Versus, wow that’s pretty, you take a photo and then start chatting with your friend.”
He says great food is the whole package.
“I think if people enjoy what you make and you make people happy, there’s nothing better,” Adriano says.
“Where I grew up … there was not much produce … all cattle, wheat everywhere. I understood a lot about farming and all my mates lived on farms. I didn’t, I lived in town, but you understood everything that goes into it,” Adriano explains.
“I’ve always had a lot of respect for people who produce stuff and how hard it is, battling the weather, climate and all those kinds of things. I think it’s super important that if it’s accessible that you nurture what you can. We’ve got to support those people where we can.
|“It gave me a relaxed mindset. I think it made me realise how good people can be when you grow up in a small country town … everyone knows you … it instils that in you and makes you then look for those people as well throughout life because they’re the people you attach yourself to.|
“It keeps me relaxed. I’ve always been a chilled sort of mindset. I stress on the job when something’s gone wrong but in general, I’m chilled.”
See Adriano in action at Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival, where he will be doing two cooking demonstrations a day on all three days, showcasing local produce.
For more information about the festival, head to the website
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