What is the Question – December
For the final What is the Question for 2021, Roland Rocchiccioli talked with Trevor Walker, a Ballarat specialty baker, about his new home-delivery bakery business. Just like it used to be!
What is your name?
What is your occupation?
Baker, pastry cook and confectioner.
Now I operate beforslicedbread.com.au – a twice-weekly Ballarat home-delivery service of old-fashioned sourdough and speciality breads, using only organic flour and filtered water. Everything is done by hand – no machinery – and we deliver in an electric van.
What brought you to Ballarat?
In 1983, through a coincidence of events, I was offered a position at Bunge Flour Mill as the test baker.
What is your favourite spot in the city?
Ballarat Railway Station. I remember vividly the first time I saw it. I was to meet a friend at about 6am on an eerily still foggy July morning. I was the only person on the platform. It was such a peaceful place the architecture jumped at me. It was like being in a magnificent artwork. It’s a beautiful building and I could sit for hours. Often, I go just to walk around the station and old platforms.
What is your earliest memory?
My family had a dairy on the Mornington peninsular. I remember being about five years old and waking-up, walking to the dairy, and having Weet Bix with milk straight from the cow.
What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
I left a job with promised prospects to travel Australia with Karen, my wife. We bought a mobile home and travelled for three years. Most of my workmates at the time said I was crazy. Twenty-years years later when I was talking to several of them from the day, they were all in awe and wished they’d had the courage to do the same.
What do you like to cook?
Long slow roasts and unusual breads from around the world.
What building would you choose to be?
A straw bale or rammed earth. I like the idea of using natural materials and being close to nature. A lot of the building materials we used today are harsh on the environment.
What is your favourite quote?
“It will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end.”
What was your first job?
Storeman, packer, salesperson at an electrical wholesaler in Frankston.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A garbo because they only worked on a Thursday morning.
What scares you?
People in power who have been promoted above their capabilities, And that’s most politicians, councillors, and a lot of business leaders.
What historical calamity would you choose to reverse?
I don’t like dwelling on the past, I always look to the future and how I can improve it.
What do you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?
If I knew everything in the beginning it would be no fun.
What was the name of your favourite teacher – and why?
Ron Smith, a trade teacher at William Angliss where I went as an apprentice. He was only about 10 years older, but he spoke to me as an equal – unlike high school. He helped me get several jobs within the industry after I finished my apprenticeship.
What is your favourite smell?
Food being cooked evokes all sorts of memories. It is very special when walking into someone’s house, or past a good coffee shop.
What is the funniest thing you remember one of your kids saying, or doing?
When a friend was unsuccessfully pouring some water from one container into another, and most of it was spilling onto the ground, my then seven-year-old son said, “Careful, you’ll get some in!”
What is the best parenting advice you have been given?
A long-time friend said, “Enjoy the moment!” It took a long-time for me to realise just how profound the comment was.