Local Person: Jay Patey
by Lily Whiting
Jay Patey is the man behind the moorish bread, flakey pastries and stellar sambos at Pigeon Whole Bakers.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I grew up on the Sunshine Coast in a little town called Yandina. After Uni, I moved to the Gold Coast for a few years before making the big change to Tasmania. I now live in New Town and am still applying for my ‘Local Tassie Status Pass’ which has been 17 years in the making.
Tell us a little about your work? I am fortunate to have built something I love doing into a business and that’s baking sourdough bread and pastries for our local community. Building the business to the size it is today has changed my role from baker to a director of Pigeon Whole Bakers, a steep learning curve over the last few years.
Pigeon Whole Bakers are now baking in Devonport as well. What is it that we Tasmanians can’t get enough of? We have a team of seriously amazing people who dedicate their time to the craft of making bread, coffee, sandwiches and pastries! Making tasty carbs and making them accessible to as many people as we can is all part of the process. We have such a loyal local following which has been the real success of the business.
Our gluten requirements appear steady after two years of chaos. Did the COVID uncertainty change things for Pigeon Whole Bakers? There have been a lot of small but meaningful changes. Our focus has been on the wellbeing of the team and being on the front foot, proactively navigating with our customers and also internally with our team. I have personally been very nervous at times and have lost a lot of sleep, however I have learnt and adapted and thankfully, for the sake of everyone in the business, “survived”.
What is the team baking currently that you can’t get enough of? The bake at home croissants and the hot cross buns for Easter that are about to start in the next few weeks.
Unfortunately, bakers drew the short straw when it came to working hours. Is there something unique about working in a team that thrives while everyone else is snoozing? The hours aren’t the kindest; the kitchen team operates the bread and pastry sections seven days a week, 24 hours a day to keep Hobart and surroundings in good supply. We are in the process of building a new sourdough bread facility which is going to be a big, welcome relief for us all.
What do you love doing outside work? Making the most of the time we have with my partner Emma and kids Maddie and Thomas. Well, when I am not on the mountain bike!
Who do you admire? Doctors, nurses and anyone in hospitality! It goes without saying.
Favourite podcast or tv show? I met Troy Trewin a few years ago and he runs a podcast called Grow A Small Business. I enjoy listening to other owners discuss their struggles and wins they have while in business.
Secret vice? Definitely Tim Tams and MAFS.
What are you reading now? I’m reading a lot of kid’s books among baking books. Julia Donaldson writes the most amazing children’s stories and they’re such a pleasure to read. Of course, the latest fad of Dog Man books as well.
What gets your goat? Sourfaux bread, and litter in our wilderness. Actually not just the wilderness, litter on our streets too.
What was your first job? Working at the Big Pineapple in Woombye making macadamia parfaits, clearing tables and dressing up as the official mascot ‘Pineapple Pete’. Good times.
What are your daily news/social media habits? Generally local ABC Hobart radio in the car so I keep up to date with news and Instagram for trolling mountain bikes, baking and cars.
Your favourite place (in Hobart) for…
Breakfast: Pigeon Whole Bakers of course for a freshly baked pastry and a coffee. I am a breakfast-on-the-run kind of guy.
Lunch: Tom McHugos for delicious local produce, and nurturing hospitality.
Dinner: Loving Peppina at The Tasman Hotel.
Favourite team? Team Pigeon!
Favourite Hobart secret? We have such beautiful wilderness on our doorstep, only 45 minutes from the CBD.
Top tip for the home bakers born out of COVID? Look after the health of your sourdough starter. You won’t have good loaves without a healthy mother so use the best flour you can get your hands on. Bake, sleep, repeat, enjoy the process and share your loaves with others.
Parting words? Call your parents more regularly xo.