Over in the unsuspecting culinary hotspot of Currumbin Creek Road, Ricky Fukuda and his team are turning the art of sourdough into a booming wholesale business at Panya Artisan Bakery, with plans to put the Currumbin Industrial Park further on the map as the place to go for affordable, quality fare just off the beaten track.
Having lived in California for 10 years, Japanese-born Ricky spent time perfecting his sourdough craft before moving to the Gold Coast, where he has lived for the past 11 years.
Opening his first bakery in Mermaid Waters three years ago, Ricky began attracting a cult-like following of up-and-coming cafes that sourced his perfectly balanced sourdough breads.
He moved the bakery to Currumbin Creek Road just 6 months ago, and in that time has expanded his clientele to over 30 Gold Coast cafés. With existing clients including the likes of Blackboard Coffee and Larder, Vintage Espresso and Alfred’s Diner on the central Gold Coast, he has also added Southern Gold Coast hotspots including Black Sheep Espresso Baa, Good Day Coffee, Elephant Rock Café, Groove Café, Caribou, Loren Food and Wine, Little Mali and Salt Mill to his list of daily deliveries.
Wholesale is their primary business, delivering freshly baked sourdough to cafés all over the Gold Coast from Southport to Coolangatta. Along with business partner Nobee, who is responsible for the delectable pastries – including croissants and signature danishes with raspberry, chocolate and almond filling – the team of five bakers work 7 days a week from the Currumbin space, churning out the highly sought-after goods and running their own deliveries.
Now with an established foundation for the business, Ricky expects to stay in Currumbin for the long haul. “It’s a very good concept for our business,” he says. “As we mainly do wholesale, it is ideal to be in the industrial area.”
While the retail side of the business is gaining pace, particularly with local workers and residents who regularly drop in for a freshly baked loaf or a selection of croissants and pastries, Ricky says the key is to keep it simple. “There are not too many options. We have 5 or 6 types of bread, including a Gluten Free option – but it’s about making the volume.”
Panya Artisan Bakery opens 7 days a week at around 7.00am, following their deliveries. With a gleaming new coffee machine set up at the front counter, regulars can soon expect to add takeaway coffees to their order of freshly baked goods.