‘‘The cake and kicks dude” | Celebrity pastry chef | Owner and head chef, Saga and Saga Lite, Sydney
To the world of Instagram he’s “Andy Bowdy”, the dude with the crazy cakes, insane pastries and wild flavour combos. In the Australian hospitality scene he’s Andrew Bowden, young gun chef. Yet Andy never aspired to either of these titles.
As a kid, Sydney-born Andy would hover around both his grandmothers as they baked classic cakes, begging to lick the spatula. At school he devoured recipe books, but opted instead to study at university – first visual arts, then engineering. Two failed attempts at academic life later, he decided to try his luck overseas.
In London, things finally clicked for Andy. Under the guidance of chef-mentors Johnnie Mountain and Stephen Frederick, he realised dessert and pastry were his “thing”. After two years, he returned to Sydney armed with a killer skill set and scored chef gigs at Pink Salt, under Michael Rantissi, and The Summit with celebrity chef Michael Moore, before meeting his greatest mentor of all, Gregory Llewellyn, at Wildfire.
When Gregory opened his own game-changing restaurant, Hartsyard, he invited Andy along for the ride. Andy began pushing the boundaries of restaurant desserts: his dude-food peanut butter and banana sundae created a sensation, while his soft-serve ice-creams evoked childhood memories. In 2015, he collaborated with cult producer Gelato Messina in a limited line of sundaes that had customers queuing for blocks.
Andy’s cake creations were soon in demand at celebrations across the city. On leaving Hartsyard, he toyed with opening a shop called “Cake and Kicks”, reflecting his love of dessert and his obsession with sneakers – he owns almost 300 pairs. That idea was shut down by his partner, former Hartsyard manager Maddison Howes, who persuaded him to open their café, Saga, in 2017, and build his own brand, Andy Bowdy Pastry.
Maddison also encouraged him to join Instagram, a move that’s fuelled his fame. His account, @andybowdy, has more than 70,000 followers and his name has spread internationally. In 2017, Andy set a killer cake challenge for contestants of MasterChef Australia. He catered a dessert banquet for the Singapore Grand Prix in 2018 and has also worked with such major brands as Nestlé, Kenwood, Kellogg’s and Pepsi Australia.
In August 2019, Andy and Maddison opened a second café outlet, Saga Lite, in Sydney’s new Darling Park precinct. Life is good, if crazy busy, for this young chef. All that’s missing is a sneaker sponsorship deal!