Since the first food hall opened in Sydney in 1936, David Jones has been providing premium produce to its customers, and our new Bondi Junction Food Hall will continue this tradition. In the lead up to launch, we sat down with Andrew Connole of SONOMA, the local baker helping to revolutionise the stores’ food offering.
How did the Sonoma story begin?
My father was interested in baking, which transferred to me. I learned to bake in San
Francisco in 1998 from Chad Robertson, who’s a bit of a legend in the scene, in an Alan Scott designed
wood-fired oven. After I came back to Australia my dad and brother and I rented a bakery in Bellata [north of Narrabri, NSW] and, for two years, every weekend we’d do a 1080-kilometre round trip from Terrigal to bake 300 loaves. By the year 2000 the demand was getting too big, so we moved Sonoma to Sydney and flew in Alan Scott to design a wood-fired oven for us, the first one in Australia.
So, what’s so good about the bread, Andrew?
We’re all about naturally-fermented sourdough bread. It’s better for you and easier to digest and that’s what Sonoma is all about. Everyone in Sydney now calls themselves an artisan baker, but we’ve been doing it for such a long time.
Are you excited about the new David Jones food concept?
We’ve had a relationship with David Jones for a long time now. Their vision for the brand is for the same quality, only on a grander scale. Sonoma is a brand that’s been around for years like David Jones, and it’s great to be in partnership with them, expanding their brand around Australia.
What’s your best tip for the home baker?
Spray some water in the oven – the steam gives a loaf of sourdough that colour and crust you really want.
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