For the sweet tooths among us, growing up to become a chocolate and biscuit maker would be a delicious dream come true. While most of us can only imagine such a mouth-watering career, Gumnut chocolatier Bruce Allen is living the dream.
Growing up, Bruce was always involved with food in some way. His great grandfather, grandfather and father were all in the business of growing and wholesaling fresh produce. And, after graduating with an Economics degree, Bruce joined the family business at Flemington Markets.
Surrounded by quality, fresh produce, Bruce soon realised his passion lay in creating fine foods. So, in 1981 Bruce moved on from the family business and established a catering company with his wife, Ros Raine. This sparked the beginning of Gumnut Chocolates, with Bruce and Ros’ catering service including handmade chocolates and almond bread, the company’s foundation products.
After their first two successful years in business, Bruce and Ros moved operations from their home kitchen to a character-filled old bakehouse in Manly Vale. Here, Gumnut Chocolates continued to develop its product line, using only the finest ingredients and layering flavours to create exciting textures and tastes.
In 2001, Gumnut Chocolates upgraded to its current modern food manufacturing facility, which was purpose built for the growing team’s unique combination of baking and chocolate making.
A natural, self taught chocolate maker, Bruce has mastered the fine art of tempering chocolate with the help of visiting European chocolatiers, namely the famous French patissier, Joel Bellouet. The late Pierre Charkos, the French patissier from La Renaissance Sydney, was also an invaluable mentor who helped Bruce understand and conquer the complexities of chocolate making.
The Gumnut team prides itself on nurturing strong relationships with customers. Popular team member Shirley Stapleton has been taking orders for the past 15 years. Italian patissier and chocolatier Paolo Penigotti joined the team in 2005, bringing extensive experience and enthusiasm that has further enhanced the business
Now, after 37 successful years, Bruce has achieved his dream of creating Australian chocolates and biscuits to rival the finest imports.