Mary Street Bakery 2017 Winner

Someone right now is biting into a salted caramel donut and they’re looking heavenward and thanking the food gods for introducing Perth to Michael Forde and Paul Aron.

And, someone else is muttering “what the heck? It’s worth it,” as they hoe into fried chicken and buttermilk pancakes with extra maple butter.

There’s people relishing single origin cold extract coffee and others toying with toasted sourdough and peanut butter. Oh, make that with a Bloody Mary and a side serve of white bean bacon braise.

It’s a simple, hugely successful formula that’s occurring in a wide happiness arc from Highgate to West Leederville, going via two outlets in Perth so office workers can join in the fun.

What’s changed? The truth is organic artisan breads, sugar-coated donuts, excellent coffee and fried chicken have been around for …. well, centuries. But it took two savvy operators with a cache of cool and finely tuned antennae for what punters want before they even have want it to show us how heartachingly good the simple things can be. That’s if its done properly. Between them Aron and Forde, long ago shook up our casual dining and established a legion of trust along the way as they Made Mexican Great Again and then showed us, effortlessly just how good woodfired pizza can be.

Now there’s a new normal and this one’s a good one. Can you remember a time when there were no shared plates, no bookings, communal tables, sitting on stools, rooftop bars – and, yes, probably even drinking out of jars? Neither can we.

But when longtime bartender Aron opened Greenhouse back in 2009 and launched the career of a 22-year-old Matt Stone – who went on to fame and fortune on MasterChef and is now considered to be the leading sustainable chef in Australia and is based in the Yarra Valley, sustainable restaurant dining was just a glint of solar powered sunshine in other operators’ eyes.

Think what the Mt Lawley strip would have been like without Cantina 663, El Publico and Ace Pizza. This dynamic duo have had a hand in all of them. And now that they’ve developed a chain of Mary Street Bakeries, there’s a legion of fans in all of them, pondering as they drink their coffee, just what these guys will do next. Whatever, its bound to be the next big thing. Congratulations Paul Aron and Michael Forde.

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But it took two savvy operators with a cache of cool and finely tuned antennae for what punters want before they even have want it to show us how heartachingly good the simple things can be. "