Beurre Zahara Valibhoy

I wasn't one of those that started baking at 2 years old in their grandmother's kitchen, throwing up fistfuls of flour in glee and discovering my love of the 'craft' before I could form sentences. 

When I did eventually learn the art of forming sentences, I completed a double degree in Commerce/Arts in 2012. I really had no clue what to do with my life, but as many of my friends were nose-deep in applying for Graduate positions at various corporate firms, I went into a long-term panic mode and decided I had to mirror their behaviour. Countless hours later, I had some success and commenced working at a large automotive company. 

From my first to my last day there- only a short 18 months later- I had a gut feeling that I didn’t want to work in an office. What made it worse was that I didn’t have any passions or hobbies that I could use as a crutch. I knew that I was lucky to have a job, and it was clear that plenty of my co-workers truly loved what they did. So the worst realisation? That I was competing with those around me and trying to squeeze myself into their dream opportunity. 

I come from a home where there is an enormous emphasis on sharing meals with your family and friends and marking celebrations with food, always food. I’ve grown up with flavours from India, Pakistan and Singapore. If it’s bland, it has no place in our family kitchen. My mother is nothing short of a phenomenal cook, and she has instilled a love of making people happy via the contents on their plate. She taught me to place emphasis on flavour and creativity first, but to never forget the aesthetics. It always has to look as beautiful as it tastes.

I always enjoyed baking simple things like a lemon or chocolate cake. But as the anxiety I felt at work increased, something started moving in my brain and I subconsciously started baking more. Soon, I would find myself obsessively looking for recipes while I was meant to be doing something work-related. I brought treats in the next day to work to share with my colleagues. They were such simple desserts but the entire process, from researching the recipe to watching people enjoy something I had made, brought me such contentment.

Beurre Strawberry Tart

Then it snowballed. Enter Ed (then boyfriend, now husband), who suggested I start a small business selling cakes and pastries at weekend markets. In October 2012, our baby, Beurre Cakes & Pastries, was born. I was a notably happier person when dessert was involved, so if it wasn’t clear before, it was now; quit your job and change careers, fool.  Shortly thereafter I applied for an apprenticeship at Le Croissant Pâtissere Française in Camberwell. They took a chance on me, I promptly resigned from the corporate job, and started down a new path.

For almost 4 years I worked full time at Le Croissant. I was introduced to working in a pastry kitchen, and learnt the fundamentals of this industry. I learnt how to master classic patisseries such as Mille Feuille and Religieuses. At Le Croissant I began by being scared of the croissant bench, and ended up loving it so much that it is still my favourite pastry to make and the first thing I will order at any pâtisserie. I will always be grateful to my bosses for giving me that opportunity, and the years that followed there. 

Simultaneously, I worked on Beurre Cakes & Pastries, and it gradually grew from just a few weekend markets to doing cakes and desserts for events.

In 2016, I decided it was time to grow in a new environment. Ed and I packed up our lives and moved to the city that is the Grand-Daddy of pâtisserie; Paris. 

In 2017 in Paris, I worked for Ladurée. It was everything that I expected and needed it to be; it pushed me beyond everything I had, it opened up my eyes, introduced me to new techniques, flavours and a new level of precision.  Everyday it taught me more, more, more.  It was sometimes brutal, sometimes delightful but sweet sugar-coma, it was rewarding. Living in Paris allowed me to explore a different side of pâtisserie. I was exposed to innumerable tastes and trends and tried countless desserts. You can read all about those adventures via my blog.

Now, we are back in Melbourne, and we have reopened our doors with a slight but important change. We are now Beurre. We’re proud of where we have come from, and what we have grown into. We are constantly seeking to provide you with delicious, beautiful and creative desserts, be it a celebration cake or a range of decadent pâtisseries, to mark all the special events in your life. At the end of the day, we don’t just encourage gluttonous behaviour; we demand it.

Ordering a dessert from Beurre is ordering something that has precision, determination, skill, hours of thought, creativity and hard work poured into it. Everything is made from scratch. Pre-mix is one dirty word that has no place in my kitchen. The only desserts to leave my hands and reach yours are the ones that I am proud of.