Say cheese: Ballarat’s own toasty connoisseur Tim Bone with a specialty of his own. Photo: CHIPPY RIVERA

The toastie of the town

October 23, 2020 BY

A GREAT toasted sandwich may be the signature of former Masterchef contestant and passionate culinary creator Tim Bone, but he’s much more than that.

Having opened his own business dedicated to gourmet toasted sandwiches, Mr Bone said he tries to create combinations that he would like in the hopes that other people will too.

“Tim’s Toasties has been running for over a year now and I still don’t get sick of them,” he said.

“I always had a dream to start up a toastie business because who doesn’t love a toastie?

“When we went to New York, there was a little hole in the wall near where we were staying and they only sold toasties, or grilled cheeses, and I just got obsessed and thought I should take this idea back to Ballarat and start my own thing.”

Always having a clear passion for cooking, it wasn’t until Mr Bone moved out of home and starting cooking for himself that his talent shone through.

Before his reality TV stint, he said he was happily working at Yuille Park Community College running their kitchen garden.

“I got nominated to do Masterchef by a friend and it was something that I would have never thought I was good enough to try,” he said.

“But I gave it a go, ended up coming fourth and it’s been the best thing I ever done.

“Being on the show showed me that life is too short not to give things a crack, it gave me the confidence to start up Tim’s Toasties and a deeper passion for food and the stories behind food.”

Since starting up the home-grown business, Mr Bone said he’s received a wealth of support from the Ballarat community.

“I’ve got quite an awesome, regular support base now that seem to come to every event and market so I try to come with something new for them,” he said.

“The locals have really gotten behind me, I can’t say enough about how thankful I am to live in Ballarat and have the support that I do.

“It’s been overwhelming, having people coming back again and again is really special, I try to mix it up for them and offer new combinations each week for those regular customers.”

Not only do the locals get around Mr Bone, but he likes to support regional producers where he can as well.

“I have a big passion for using everything local produce around the Ballarat area,” he said.

“I get my bread from 1816 Bakehouse, the most beautiful sourdough, I get a lot of my meats from Salt Kitchen Charcuterie, then Wilson’s Fruit and Veg.

“I try to support as many as possible and showcase them in my toasties and I let the beautiful produce speak for itself.”

As this year’s SpringFest ambassador, Mr Bone is doing all he can to promote Ballarat wide food and produce events to ensure their future existence.

While many markets and events were cancelled earlier this year, Mr Bone said he took lockdown as an opportunity to work outside of the box.

“I was selling them at The Forge and I started doing toasty deliveries with the local delivery providers which went really well and it gave me a sense of purpose throughout this time,” he said.

“Although SpringFest won’t be going ahead in person this year, I’m back at the other markets which are the Bridge Mall and the two here at Zoo Drive are the Ballarat Farmers Market.

“It’s just so nice to see people out and about because I had missed the markets where I could chat to people because I really enjoy those face-to-face interactions.”

With grand plans set for the future of the business, Mr Bone said it’s exciting to be a part of the city’s booming food scene.

“I’d love to have a big food truck but the dream is to have my own bricks and mortar place, it’s just finding that right spot and the right timing,” he said.

“To have a Tim’s Toasty shop would be the icing on the cake of this crazy journey.

“We’re lucky here in Ballarat, we don’t have to go to Melbourne for a good meal anymore and we’re becoming a foodie destination here on our own right.”