Bells at Killcare have welcomed a new head baker to their culinary stocks with the introduction of Brad Reiher to the popular boutique hotel.
Reiher boasts an impressive CV, learning his craft under the eye of culinary greats such as Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Rd and Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, England.
The baker credited his tutelage at the two venues in making him the chef he is today, but said the training never stops.
“The standards and expectations are extremely high, which not only means a high-pressure environment but also tests your skills and builds your knowledge,” he said.
“Pastry is very scientific, so it also gives you an understanding and appreciation of the chemistry that goes into getting it right.
“In pastry and chefing, the training never really stops.
“There’s constant learning and evolving of skills and even today, after over 20 years in the industry, I learn new ways and methods all the time – whether it’s through experimentation or from people I meet along the way.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate that my early training covered all aspects of pastry – from bakery basics to fine dining.
“My apprenticeship was largely at the ANA Hotel in Sydney (now called the Shangri-La) which really did set me up for success.
“It wasn’t an easy ride, but I was encouraged and ultimately this set me up with the confidence and opportunity to go overseas.”
Reiher said there was ‘no wild or inspiring’ story about how he got into baking, and in fact found his love for dough at his local Baker’s Delight.
“The fact is, I fell into it,” he said.
“After school, I needed a job to pay rent if I wanted to stay in Sydney.
“I secured a job at Baker’s Delight and was fortunate to work under a boss who instilled great practices and gradually developed my interest and love of baking.”
And now at Bells, Reiher said that the passion has continued, noticing emerging trends that he would like to replicate in-house.
With his specialties said to be a canalé or a Portuguese tart, Reiher said there were also a range of breads, pastries and sweet treats on offer.
“I’ve certainly noticed a change or increase in demand for good quality food and produce on the coast, which is akin to what you might expect to see in more metropolitan areas,” Reiher added.
“This winter season we’re currently using truffles as part of our menu and that extends not just to the restaurant but also the bakery.
“Bells has always had such a great reputation on the Coast and with the bakery aspect being quite new and somewhat undiscovered, I see a massive opportunity to make it a ‘must visit’ on the Coast – not only for guests of the hotel, but also for the local community.
“The owners of Bells – Brian and Karina Barry – have great passion for good quality and locally sourced ingredients and all I can hope is for myself and the team create breads, pastries and sweets that people want to keep coming back for.”