Tell us about how Rollers Bakehouse started. When did you both know that you guys were creating something special?
James: Rollers was a long time in the making. Both Bo and I were doing our own ventures when the opportunity for the space that Rollers is in now came up. I approached Bo and we got chatting. After a lot of brainstorming, we both realised we had the same ideology and love for what we had seen overseas, the simple concept of great coffee and great pastries. We also felt nothing really existed in Sydney in the way that we wanted to present Rollers.
Describe for us a typical day in the lives of Bo and James.
James: Usually my day starts 5am at Rollers, baking and setting up and then producing product till about 2pm. I am quite an active person, I’ll usually finish my day with some kind of exercise, I’m big on running and if its good conditions, surfing.
BO: If I'm working, I’m in the shop at around 6am to set up the coffee bar. Some days are a full day until 4pm, but if I'm lucky enough to have some time in the afternoon, then I’ll head out for a cycle before cooking for the family. I also have three kids, so that takes up a fair chunk of time. If I'm not at Rollers, then I could also be at Winona Wine which is a bottle shop in Manly specialising in organic and biodynamic wines - check it out!
The reviews on your webpage are glowing. People from all over the world come to Roller Bakehouse to taste your signature pastries! How do you go about creating these recipes and where do you source the inspiration for your ever-changing menu?
James: We take a lot of our inspiration from what we have previously and continue to see and taste in our own dining experiences. Recreating flavours we have had in other dishes is what drives us to test flavours to see if they work.
In some sense, creating nostalgia in our flavours by reminding the customer of a similar or recreated version of something they are previously familiar with. A good example of this would be the Cherry Ripe croissant or the ‘Sushi’ croissant which uses salmon, pickled ginger, wasabi, and nori. We look to use the best seasonal ingredients in our pastries and are constantly changing these to keep our menu innovative.
Bo: I think both of us being foodies and just loving flavours in general is a pretty easy and enjoyable part of the job. Some things work and some don’t! For me, the most enjoyable part is making the flavours sing in a harmonious, subtle way. James and his team are awesome at this.
Rollers Bakehouse is located in the beachside oasis of Manly. Why did you choose to open your first shop here? And what do you love most about this suburb?
Bo: The site found us! Manly is also on the cusp of major growth in the hospitality sector. It was a great opportunity to spearhead that growth with something that Manly had never seen before. There’s some great places opening up at the moment and it’s great to be part of it. We also saw the back alley nature of Rollers as a good opportunity to create a hideout/oasis just off the busy strip of the Corso. We like to think we created a space that was not only something different for Manly, but also something that would create some interest for the whole of Sydney to come and see. Manly is great for its locals - everyone is accepting, friendly and supportive of what we have created.
For someone who is visiting Manly for the first time, what would you say are the top three hidden gems of this area?
- Fairy Bower and Shelley beach are always beautiful to see on a sunny day.
- North Head bush walks and the look outs over the city and Eastern Suburbs.
- The harbour beaches in front of Fairlight are always amazing and quiet on a busy, sunny day.
Growing up, what were some of the most significant memories you both had around food at home?
James: I have always loved eating and checking out new restaurants and eateries, so does my family. I don’t have that classic story of grandparents who handed down generations of knowledge but my mum definitely is a lover of food and I always looked forward to dinner at home.
BO: My grandparents were Ukrainian, so i grew up eating at theirs every weekend. It was starch heavy and damn delicious. I miss it.
If you could only eat one thing from the Rollers Bakehouse menu for the rest of your life, what would it be?
James: for me, nothing can really beat a plain croissant warm and fresh out of the oven. It’s the most simple and delicious combination.
Bo: A plain croissant for me, also. But I like mine room temperature. Served with black coffee.
What exciting things have you got in store for Rollers Bakehouse?
James: We are constantly trying to stay innovative with our menu, each week we try to stay on top of new ideas and perfect what we are creating. We do have ambitions for another Rollers, where and when we don’t know yet!