A born and bred South Australian, Alex Crawford’s culinary roots trace back to his teenage years. At the age of 14, Crawford took on the role of commis chef at Chloe's Restaurant in Kent Town. As a bright-eyed adolescent, Crawford quenched his keen thirst for culinary knowledge (in particular pastry and desserts) by navigating the fast-paced landscape of the kitchen and working under the watchful but supportive eyes of his mentors.
From these early days, Crawford was magnetised by the kitchen and its processes, often staying on well past his shifts had finished, and coming in on off-days to study his mentors and learn new skills.
At the conclusion of high school, Crawford continued to self-direct himself into the culinary field. He continued to gather a diversity of hands-on work experience, with short-term stints under the guidance of highly specialised mentors in kitchens around the country – including at two-hat Vanitas Restaurant on the Gold Coast.
These experiences allowed Crawford to hone in on his niches: pastry, chocolate and desserts. He then focussed on teaching himself to master the fiddly and fickle art of pastries, learning in the way he knew best: trial and error. He set up a wholesale bakery on Hutt St in Adelaide, where he constructed specialty croissants, macarons and chocolate bars. At the two-year mark, despite successes and both a depth and breadth of knowledge in patisserie – gained from hours of research and gruelling experiments – his professional growth was overshadowed by extreme burnout. And so the decision was made to not renew the lease, and instead focus on refining his expertise through travel. An exploration of Italy’s food scene with his wife proved to be restorative to both his spirit and his instinct for culinary learning. Crawford fell down the rabbit hole of sweets, in particular chocolate.
He returned to Adelaide with a renewed passion for patisserie, and an idea: bespoke artisan chocolate bars, showcasing local South Australian produce and French couverture chocolate. Crawford revived his patisserie offerings, this time with the limitations of the pandemic forcing him to use his imagination when revising the business model. A pastry delivery service was born, which saw boxes of specialty pastries of varied seasonal flavours delivered to the door of residents around Adelaide.
The success of this initiative then led Crawford in a poetic circle back to his old stomping ground on Hutt St, where he and his wife lovingly transformed a former bank site into a fully operational commercial kitchen, complete with a retail space. Today, Crawford offers his pastries on Saturdays and Sundays on a rotating seasonal menu. His chocolate-seeking sweet tooth is satisfied with a fully-fledged and ever-expanding range of seasonal chocolate items.