(ABC News: Nick Hose) By
July 30, 2017 11:23:38
Neil Rilett (L) and Caleb Evans taught themselves to bake using YouTube.
Alice Springs 0870
(ABC News: Nick Hose) In a disused aeroplane hangar in Central Australia, two mates make custard, having taught themselves all of their culinary skills via YouTube.”It tastes like vanilla-y goodness, it’s really rich and really smooth and just goes well on everything,” says Caleb Evans as he scrapes butter into a large baking pan.The hangar, located next to Alice Springs airport, was built in the mid-1980s by local property developer Steven Brouwer for $2.5 million, but sat empty for years until Mr Evans and fellow baker Neil Rilatt moved in.”He built an empire on fine dining on aeroplanes, at its peak this building would’ve had 81 staff working here,” Mr Evans says.The sprawling complex built over three levels features multiple cool rooms, one the size of a small apartment.”Back in the day they would make everything from scratch here, every day,” Mr Rilatt says.”But as the airline industry changed and big players like Ansett moved out, the work dried up.”
A once-abandoned aeroplane hangar in Alice Springs that now houses a pair of bakers. Photo:
Neil Rilett (L) and Caleb Evans make 15 types of pie from scratch at their hangar bakery. (ABC News: Nick Hose)
Self-taught chefs via YouTubeThe bakers, who had no formal training, taught themselves how to cook using YouTube.”We were both feeling disenfranchised in our jobs, so we would meet up every weekend and bake … in the early days it wasn’t great,” Mr Rilatt says.Mr Evans was more blunt: “There were a few disasters in the early days.”Every week we had to throw away the sourdough because the bread wouldn’t hold its structure and just collapse.”Eventually they realised the temperature was too hot.”It was the middle of an Alice Springs summer and everything was like 80 degrees [Celsius],” Mr Rilatt says.”But out of that disaster came one of our most popular breads, the wholemeal spelt loaf.”Despite the setbacks, the pair were committed to perfecting their art.”The fact that it wasn’t perfect is what annoyed us the most, and so we just sort of made it our mission in life to perfect the breads, and the bagels, and YouTube was a big part of that,” Mr Evans says. Photo:
Caleb Evans stirs custard in his hangar bakery in Alice Springs. (ABC News: Nick Hose)
15 types of pies made from scratchThe untrained bakers count Julia Child and Richard Bertinet as their biggest influencers.”There’s no cookbook that tells you how to make 120 loaves of bread,” Mr Rilatt says.”They can explain it to you, but until you see someone doing it, it doesn’t make a great deal of sense, so we used YouTube to finetune our technique,” Mr Evans adds.The bakers say that aside from their bread, the Portuguese tarts and pies are their bestsellers.”We make about 15 different types of pies, all from scratch,” Mr Evans says.And while they might agree on most things, they are split on the age-old question: should you put sauce on a pie?”The flavour needs to shine, you don’t need to add sweet tomato on top, not necessary,” Mr Rilatt says.”You don’t need to, but you definitely can,” Mr Evans says.