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Kate Reid: baker of the best croissants outside Paris

Melbourne pastry chef, Kate Reid, still blushes when she’s told her croissants are among the best outside of Paris. After completing a short apprenticeship at Du Pain et Des Idèes in Paris in 2011, Kate returned to Melbourne and searched high and low for a croissant that rivalled anything she’d eaten in France. Disillusioned by what she found, Kate decided to put her new-found skills to work and started her own bakery, Lune Croissanterie.

A day in the life

Has Lune Croissanterie’s success been a nice surprise?

In December 2013, my brother became my business partner and we turned my little wholesale business into a little hole-in-the-wall bakery. The success we enjoyed was so unexpected and unprecedented – we both look back on it with wonderment and such appreciation for the people who supported us. The little bakery became so popular that people would start lining up before 4am, and wait for more than four hours for the bakery to open, just to buy pastries that had been pulled straight from the oven and were piping hot. Every morning we would open the barn door to a line of 60+ customers – even in the dead of winter!

You have a reputation for making the best croissants outside Paris (our Editor-in-Chief Rachel Khoo certainly thinks so). How do you feel about this?

Honestly, hearing this just blows my mind. It’s hard to even comprehend. There are so many exceptional and talented bakers worldwide, so it’s an enormous compliment (Rachel, I’m blushing). I think a croissant is a very personal thing though, and what one person may like can be completely different to another.

https://www.instagram.com/p/5JkIIxAyL6/?taken-by=lunecroissant

Do you have a background in the food industry, or is this a bit of a tangent for you?

Haha! I’m actually a qualified Aerospace Engineer (bit of a tangent, hey). I discovered pretty early on in my F1 career that working in front of a computer for up to 16 hours a day just wasn’t the life for me. I’ve always had a love of baking, and many trips to France really heightened my interest in, and passion for pastry. There was something so beautiful and rustic about croissants, yet it became clear to me (and my engineering brain) that they weren’t so easy to make. I’ve always loved a challenge, and making croissants seems to be the perfect combination of craft and science.

What’s your biggest achievement or proudest moment?

My proudest moment is probably the final day Lune traded in Elwood. All our most dedicated customers camped out overnight to be the first in line to buy the last ever Lune pastries made at the original shop. When we opened the door at 8am I asked Cameron (my brother and business partner) if I could serve the first customer in line. I got very emotional.

Any new projects in the pipeline?

We’re constantly experimenting at Lune and pushing the boundaries with what is possible with croissant pastry. Our weekly ‘Lune Lab’ is our chance to be very experimental with our pastry, and to try and create tastes and experiences that you wouldn’t often associate with croissants. But interestingly, our most experimental pastry is our traditional croissant. We are constantly tweaking and improving the recipe and the processes and techniques we use to produce it.

https://www.instagram.com/p/6JP10gAyOE/

Best Kept Secrets

I khoollect a few …

I don’t have a huge amount of possessions actually. I prefer spending my money on experiences – holidays, going out to dinner etc.

Three recipe books you couldn’t live without?

Best holiday memory?

I have so many wonderful holiday memories, but the most life changing is probably walking into Du Pain et Des Idèes for the first time (while on holiday in Paris in 2010) and having no idea how it was going to change my life so drastically.

Best thing you’ve ever eaten OR happiest food memory?

The best meal I’ve ever had is at Bones in Paris with three dear friends. Unfortunately Bones is no longer, but it was the perfect mix of friendship, beautiful food and wine.

Who’s your #khoollectcrush?

My first boss in hospitality, and now my dear friend Mary Couvalias. She was the first one who gave me the opportunity to bake professionally. She gave me guidance and support and a happy environment to learn in. She shared her knowledge with me, introduced me to simple incredible Mediterranean food I had never tasted, and she became a friend and a mentor.

Urban Favourites

Where do you call home and what do you love about it?

Fitzroy, Melbourne. I love how it feels like a little community. On my way to work I walk past Meatsmith and often Troy (the butcher) and I give each other a smile and a wave. It feels very old fashioned; the butcher and the baker greeting each other. I also love the cultural diversity – the incredible places to eat, the wine bars and pubs, the independent clothing shops, beautiful nearby parks, and the convenience to the city.

Your favourite place for coffee?

Patricia Coffee Brewers – the most beautifully designed espresso bar ever, with coffee and staff to match. A hidden gem.

Best spot for dinner?

Any of Andrew McConnell’s restaurants – Luxembourg, Cumulus Inc, Builders Arms, Supernormal, Marion, Cutler and Co – I eat at several of these venues weekly. The common theme is attention to detail and quality, and delicious menus designed around local, seasonal produce.

Your top five favourite bakeries or patisseries in Melbourne?

  1. Tivoli Road – owner Michael James creates the most beautiful bread and pastries. His sourdough bread and sausage rolls are to die for.
  2. Cobb Lane – their peanut butter and jam donuts are the things that dreams are made of. Owner Matt Forbes was starting up his business at the same time as I started Lune so we would see each other on the delivery rounds each morning. Sentimental.
  3. Candied Bakery – delicious wares with an american twist.
  4. Shortstop Coffee and Donuts – their vanilla glazed donut fresh in the morning is a classic. When it’s still warm and the glaze cracks and gets stuck on your lips…
  5. Bibelot – beautiful patisserie with very imaginative and beautiful pastries.

Best place to pickup fresh ingredients to make/fill croissants?

Meatsmith for meat and smallgoods. Pepe Saya for cultured butter. Prahran or South Melbourne Markets for fresh produce

Ideal lazy Sunday?

A picnic with my boyfriend at Fitzroy Gardens. A good bottle of wine, some fresh ingredients and lazing on a picnic blanket in the sun.

If you didn’t live in Melbourne, then where?

Paris. No explanation required.

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Bex Shannon

Hailing from far away New Zealand, Bex is into music, travel and everything vintage and retro. Sh...

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Take a look at Kate’s tips for making croissants at home.

Try Kate’s suggestions for delicious croissant fillings.

Visit Lune Croissanterie’s website.

Find Lune Croissanterie on Instagram and Facebook.