Bryone Vonk is The Good Baker at Grey Lynn Farmers Market on Sunday Mornings.
How did you come up with the name, The Good Baker?
The name comes from my business values - being good for: health, environment, animal welfare, and community. I solely use plant-based ingredients, I use local suppliers and growers, and minimize waste and plastic as much as possible.
Do plant-based products mean that you need to compromise on taste?
Not at all - one of my main goals is to show plant-based products are just as good and even better than products containing animal products. One of the main pieces of feedback that I get from customers is that they are amazed to learn all my products are made with all-plant ingredients, and they are unable to tell the difference.
Are any of your pastries gluten-free?
Yes!! Right now my only gluten-free products are Apple and Rhubarb turnovers and gluten-free cakes. Making gluten-free pastries is a challenge and I'm currently working on a gluten-free brioche recipe.
Why did you become a vegan?
My journey to veganism started when I was advised to cut out dairy products because of a health issue. However, the more I learned the more environmental and animal welfare factors motivated me to live a plant-based lifestyle.
Where did you grow up?
Pukekohe, where I spent the majority of my childhood. I was surrounded by food growing up, wandering around my grandparent’s restaurant kitchen. I have fond memories of “sampling” the signature chocolate tart as a child. My passion for food and dessert began here, leading me to study culinary arts.
Have you always worked with food?
Yes - after graduating from culinary school, I worked at The French Cafe where I made lifelong friends in a challenging and positive working environment.
And you have worked in fine-dining overseas
Yes - I began my OE in a French vineyard but, after I learnt enough French, I worked at a traditional patisserie in Bordeaux. I had always aspired to work in a Michelin star restaurant so I was very grateful to work in Gordon Ramsay's 3 Michelin star restaurant for a year when I moved to London. Then I worked for a year at Hide restaurant which gained its first Michelin star while I was there.
Gordon Ramsay has a big reputation - what was it like working for him?
It was intense but I learned so much. My time at the restaurant was spent working long hours and being in a tough environment because perfection was expected in every dish. Having worked my way to being trusted to run the pastry section, I was told to be tougher on the chefs below me, which I found difficult.
Where did you go when your visa ran out?
I moved to Montreal and worked at one of the best French-Canadian patisseries in the city. Unfortunately, I had to cut my time in Montreal short when COVID prompted New Zealand to call Kiwis home.
So you were here when we went into the Level 4 lockdown
Yes, I arrived home two days before lockdown. I was lucky to be able to self-isolate at that time. The lockdowns gave me plenty of time to think hard about what I wanted to do next.
What are your future plans?
I’m enjoying being at the market, getting direct feedback from my customers, building up a following, and learning from other stallholders. Eventually, I’d like to set up a bricks-and-mortar patisserie and dessert cafe.
As published in Ponsonby News : August 2021