The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The big reveal - This is what I have been up too ...

PiPs's picture

The big reveal - This is what I have been up too ...

Well, I have strung everybody along for long enough ...

It seems my plans are coming to fruition so it's time to share what I have been up too ...

Last year my graphic design position of eight years was made redundant and I found myself unemployed with the uneasy prospect of contemplating my future career. It was one of the hardest, most drawn out and stressful years I have known, but through this change I grew stronger and found an energy lost long ago working in an unchallenging desk job.

I have known in my heart for some time that bread was going to play a part in my future and to cut a long story fairly short after a few months of putting myself and my blog out into the market I have landed on my feet baking for one of Brisbane trendiest restaurants/pubs ...

… and I will soon be baking woodfired sourdoughs in one of their sister ventures …

So how did this come to be? 

Contacts … it seems so much in this this life is interconnected … more than we actually realise sometimes. 

I have blogged previously about my woodfired baking experiences with Laurie Stiller at Chalala Micro-Bakery in a oven that Alan Scott had built. Helping with that build was a bloke named Dennis Benson. Dennis is a bricklayer and was an old friend of Alans who has built many ovens all across Australia. Early last year I contacted Dennis who lives close to Brisbane about the price of building an oven (at the time not knowing he had helped build Lauries oven). Although that oven was never built, Dennis mentioned that he was building another oven for restaurant in town in which they would be roasting whole pigs. I went along to see the build and met the owner briefly. It was about six months after this time that I lost my graphic design job.

When I was finally unemployed I looked into setting up a micro-bakery and subletting space, but the costs and regulations seemed prohibitive in an already uncertain time for me. I emailed the owner of the restaurant to see if I could sublet the woodfired oven when it was not in use … and after some months a reply came through that it probably wasn't possible but they had leased another location and were building another Alan Scott oven if I was interested in baking for them …. um … guess how long it took for me to answer that question!

So here I am … the new oven is halfway through being built. Everyday is an exciting challenge for me in the kitchen and I am working harder and longer than I ever remember ... and loving every single second of it.

Today, on my day off, I spent the morning hemming edges of the new couche that has arrived from France, then popped in and spent some time with Dennis and helped pour some vermiculite around the edges of the concrete hearth, then spent time learning the ins-and-outs of the coffee machine and I am about to sit down and review a couple of bread formulas that need some tweaking for tomorrows bake.

The ovens I am currently using are not bread ovens and are less than ideal … but I am making do … and each day the woodfired oven is closer to completion.

Stay Tuned :)



evonlim's picture

i'm not very good with words, but i am touched by your story. and a happy feeling grew in me while i was reading. left a smile on my face after reading the last sentence. 

oh.. the picture of the loaves was a clever teaser!

cheers to you Phil :)


Mebake's picture

A graphic designer who bakes bread, and takes lovely photographs, how lucky are those Pubs!

I'm happy for you, Phil, now that you have finally made a living out of a passion.

Go ahead and surprise them with your top notch breads!

SpoonandSparrow's picture

Thank you for sharing your story.  I wish you the best. Happy, and excited for you!

varda's picture

to you but also to the lucky diners who will get to eat your bread.  -Varda

Floydm's picture

That's great, Phil.  Glad to see you have indeed landed on your feet. Keep us posted!



SallyBR's picture

I am so glad I stopped by here today, your story is touching and I am also a bit at loss for words...


wish you the best of luck on your new path! 



davidg618's picture

...the edible art you're creating, and your un-finished story.

In my working years I traveled round the world, twice, but never visited Australia. Old now, and arthritic, I've thought my world-traveling days are over--until now. Here, TFL, I've followed many Australian bakers' blogs, and forum posts. Your's is a wonderful country, many people with adventure in their souls. After reading your story, and the links to your work spaces, I'm seriously wondering if I could handle a trip down-under. Please keep us posted. And if I show up one day, I'll buy the first pint.

Best of luck to ya',

David G

Franko's picture

Hi Phil,

Congratulations on your new path, one that I'm sure will lead to a great deal of success for you in the years to come. For as long as I've been reading your blog it's always seemed somehow wrong to me that a baker of your talent and ability wasn't working from a commercial venue of some kind. When I read this post the first thing I thought was how right this has all turned out for you after a difficult year. I couldn't be happier for you. Have fun!

All the best,


isand66's picture

Hi Phil,

I'm so happy you are going to be doing what you've obviously been put on this earth to do!  I wish you all the best in your new life path and we will all I'm sure look forward to following your progress and relish your success through your posts.

I envy your bravery in diving head first in your new venture and wish you nothing but success.


ananda's picture

Hi Phil,

Just as Franko writes really.   The world of professional bakers is a little bit richer for having you, and I obviously wish you well.

You are a great baker, with many talents.

Thanks for posting on where you have landed

Very best wishes


dabrownman's picture

Couldn't think of a better place for a talented, if hungry and thirsty, late night baker to get fine, free food and drink at such a classy place :-)  You won't starve or go thirsty mate!  Nice looking Sheilas too.....not that you can eat the atmosphere.   New wood fored oven too.  What's not to like?

Glad things have turned out so well and you are enjoying yourself away from the daily grind behind the desk.

Cheers!'s picture

Congrats Phil,

You + an Alan Scott oven.  What a happy ending/beginning to your 'bridge' year and your new venture.

Best of luck with it.  Look forward to seeing what comes out of that oven.  Lucky Queenslanders.

Love the poetic photodocumentation, as always.



SylviaH's picture

What wonderful news!  I loved hearing and seeing about your future plans.  The future is truely bright for you, and now you will be able to put all those amazing talents to work, in the fantastic beautiful enviroment they deserve.

You must be just one great big smile : )

My very best to you and yours!


dmsnyder's picture

Thanks for the latest chapter of your saga. I'm really happy for you. It sounds like you are landing on your feet and in a better place.

Your photos are terrific, as always.

Best regards,


jarkkolaine's picture

Reading this post made my day! Congratulations for this new step in your journey with bread, and all the best!

I hope we'll see more posts with photos of the breads you bake in that oven :)

proth5's picture

and best wishes.

"The oven problem" - yes not fun using sub optimal ovens, but soon be over.

Much to consider in your story.


trailrunner's picture

Your pictures and moving words are an endorsment of what happens when a person keeps moving forward and taking advantage of all the lies in front of them. Congratulations on your new found career. I hope your story allows others to see the possibilities in their lives. c

trailrunner's picture

Your pictures and moving words are an endorsment of what happens when a person keeps moving forward and taking advantage of all the lies in front of them. Congratulations on your new found career. I hope your story allows others to see the possibilities in their lives. c

pmccool's picture

Have fun getting acquainted with the new oven when it is finished.  And may your baking always be a joy instead of a job.


breadsong's picture

Hi Phil,
This is such exciting news and I couldn't be happier for you!
That oven looks like it's going to be a beauty. It's wonderful you'll have the opportunity to bake with an oven like that, 
and can be there to witness and participate in its construction.
The people of Brisbane are very fortunate to have a world-class baker like you in their midst.  Wishing you the very best!!!
:^) breadsong


Janetcook's picture

Hi Phil,

Oh, the wonders that do unfold.  I am glad that you have had this situation to not only recognize the interconnectedness of life but to experience its movement as well.  All moves in its own time and, having followed your baking journey these past couple of years, it is so easy to see how things were always in motion and the timing couldn't have been more perfect.

As I read I couldn't keep a wide smile from spreading across my face nor could I deny that sense of to put that into better words......I will have to use more words.  Like others here I have been waiting for your 'news'.  As I read your words there was the delight I felt but also a sense of knowing all along where your journey was headed.  I wasn't really surprised to hear your news.  Delighted, yes.  Surprised, no.  Where else could you have gone???     

What I wonder at is how a lone man in a really small town in Northern California can be known by a brick layer  who lives so utterly far away....

Thank you for bringing us all up to date.  You have made my day :-) I do hope you aren't too busy to check in here and keep us up to date.  I know I would love to hear all about your new adventure.

Take Good Care My Far Away Friend,


michelebike's picture

All the lucly for you and in want you realy are going to do .............all the best.For you and your paasion it's the perfetc way of life .........



Thaichef's picture

Hello Phil:

 I had been following your post for a while and also wondering about what is coming next(after all the hints you gave us). What a wonderful ending of your trip! You finally get to do what you love to do.  Your customers are so lucky to get to taste your wonderful breads.  I am waiting to hear the next chapter of your baking for the multitude.


Alpana's picture

All the best, Phil & thanks for sharing your inspiring story!

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Exciting stuff Phil.  Good to see you took a difficult situation and turned it into a positive, exciting direction.  I was at a similar crossroad some years ago and am glad I took the challenge.  The difference is you will be baking bread for a living.  Envious!

Looking forward to your updates!


Salilah's picture

Many congratulations Phil - such good news

You are still producing stunning photos - of course! - and I hope the woodfired oven, and the restaurant role, work out brilliantly for you
Good luck with this, I'm sure you will be amazing


joyfulbaker's picture

Your pure delight is so obvious in these photographs of your new venture.  As Janet said, it's amazing how two far-from-each-other souls can become connected.  You and that Alan Scott oven--what a combination!  What a gift it is to love every minute of what you are doing.  How lucky can one be? All the best of luck in your venture, Phil, and thanks for taking the time to share it in such beautiful fashion.  Keep us posted.--Joy 


AnnaInMD's picture

I am so excited for you, a brand-new journey ahead !

All the best,


yozzause's picture

Really good, im very pleased for you, lots of hard work ahead but gone are those early days of despair and the unknown.

i will definately call by if i get over to Queensland which is on my list of to do things .

kindest regards Yozza      

Raluca's picture

Sooo amazing that you get the chance to do this!! the very best of luck! The oven looks amazing already!

hanseata's picture

And good luck for your new professional path.


Jeremy's picture

Hey, I'm dealing with trying to figure out how your doing it...and I've baked for 14 years and see how many people do it...but I can't figure out how yet?!

Still, want to say I am so happy for you and wish you all the I know your gonna be a big and great baker..


Cheers Phil!