Adriano Zumbo is glad he took the advice of his high school teacher. The restless teen began fiddling with cake making in the bakery of his sister’s country supermarket, turning the sponge mix crazy colours and going all out on the frosting, taking the finished cakes to school. The teacher’s wise words: “You should keep this up.”
And he did. At 15, Adriano left his close-knit Italian family behind in Coonamble, NSW, to begin a pastry apprenticeship in Sydney. Working under renowned culinary icons in Australia and France, among them Ramon Morato, l’Ecole Lenôtre, Bellouet and Pierre Hermé, his love affair with pastry flourished.
He started his own business humbly, supplying tarts, muffins, brownies and banana bread to Sydney cafes. In 2007, he opened a small patisserie in Balmain, featuring what was to become his signature creation: the macaron, or Zumbaron as it’s now known.
An appearance on the first series of MasterChef Australia introduced the classic French croquembouche to a huge audience and made “Zumbo” a household name. He’s since been dubbed the “Sweet Assassin”, “Patissier of Pain”, and “the Dark Lord of the Pastry Kitchen” for the sheer complexity and creativity of his work and the stress he’s inflicted on contestants in his 16 MasterChef appearances.
Adriano has also featured in two TV series of his own. He has three cookbooks to his name and is working on a fourth. He operates 10 retail outlets in Sydney and Melbourne and has multiple brand ambassadorships.
Adriano is constantly evolving as a chef and as a brand, and is always considering his next move, idea or cake.