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The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry: Lee Tran Lam quizzes chefs, critics, bar staff and other people from the world of food about their career highlights and lowlights, war stories and favourite places to eat and drink in Sydney.

Nov 3, 2017

David McGuinness has frequently taken his sourdough starter on holidays with him to keep it alive. "You have to feed it regularly, like a baby," he says. This dedication to bread is not surprising, given that he's the co-founder of Bourke Street Bakery, the Sydney institution that is loved for everything from its chocolate ganache tarts to its meat pies (Amy Schumer famously stopped by, straight from the airport, to try one during her Trainwreck press tour).

Along with the bakery's co-founder, Paul Allam, David has co-authored two baking bibles – the original Bourke Street Bakery publication was even released in Russia, where it was called Streets of Bread. The new book, All Things Sweet, is dedicated to Bourke Street Bakery's much-loved desserts – such as the ginger brûlée tart (David shares the lovely story behind that on the podcast – and tells of the key role it played in how he met his partner).

Bourke Street Bakery has come a long way from the days when its chefs had to teeter on milk crates to stir 120-litre pots filled with pie mix. There's its social enterprise, The Bread and Butter Project, which trains refugees to become bakers – which was inspired by the time Paul taught nuns in a refugee camp how to bake. Then there's the impressive Bourke Street Bakery family tree – which has seen former BSB graduates branch out and do their own thing (like Paul Giddings with The Bread Social, Simon Cancio with Brickfields, Nadine Ingram with Flour and Stone and Andrew Cibej with Vini, Berta and Bacco). And there's a New York branch of Bourke Street Bakery on the way, too.

Plus, we chat about David's best bread experiences (including “one of the most memorable meals, ever” in Kuala Lumpur), some of the unforgettable responses he's had from Bourke Street Bakery fans, and why he wanted the team from Moon Park to open Paper Bird, their new restaurant, in the former Potts Point branch for BSB.
PS In case you're curious, the Tokyo bakery I mention in the podcast is called Kaiso.
Suggested listening from the podcast archive: Ben Sears, Kylie Millar, Christina Tosi, Andrew Bowden (Andy Bowdy), Mike McEnearney, Lauren Eldridge.