Pierross Pasticceria Italiana
Published on 29 April 2016
Ten hours Monday. Another ten on Tuesday. Ten more on Wednesday then again on Thursday.
Friday and Saturday? Closer to 16. That’s around 70 hours each and every week that you’ll find Pier Varel at his business, Pierross Italian Pasticceria, in Eltham.
“I love what I do,” he says. “I’ve found something that I like so I’ll continue to do it.”
That ‘something’ is the creation of quality products for his customers. Pierross is many things to many people, but it’s all done with style and a smile. “During the day we focus on coffee, but we also make pizza in the traditional Italian style on Friday and Saturday nights, which are usually really busy. We also make wedding cakes, customised cakes and birthday cakes too.”
Having worked as a pastry chef for 28 years in his north-eastern Italy and, since 2005, around Melbourne, these customised cakes can be big business. “They start from $3.50 per person and from there it depends on the decorations that we put on top.” The most extreme I did was one cake that had 500 Swarovski crystals and 600 fresh roses on top. It was a seventieth wedding anniversary cake and it cost $9,500.”
Of course, for many of the locals and visitors who step inside Pierross, they’re here for the coffee and a sweet treat. “We work with a company who makes our coffee in a special blend called ‘Pierross’. We can’t roast our own coffee on the premises because we don’t have enough space, but this blend is great and we’ve sold it for a long time.”
Whether it’s for his coffee, cakes or pizza, though, Pier looks far and wide for the best ingredients available. “We always try to source locally. If I can’t find the ingredients locally though, and if they’re not available anywhere in Australia, then we’ll import them from overseas. Unfortunately a lot of the products that we use can’t be found outside of Italy, but it’s worth bringing them in because it helps make our food as good as anything you’d get in Italy.“
Aside from the food and the coffee, there’s another reason that so many people visit Pier and his team at Pierross. “When people come here for lunch or for dinner we treat them like family. We also often make seasonal products, like for Easter or Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, the way that we used to in Italy. But we don’t just make it; we’ll explain to customers how we cook it in Italy, what the traditions behind the dish are, where the products come from.”
When you think about it, doing all of this in only 70 hour per week is impressive. But it’s just what Pier does; it’s who he is. “I’m an old-school pastry chef who does everything from picking the ingredients to making the recipe to decorating the cakes to serving the customer.
“When you’re working so many hours in the day, you have to enjoy it. If you’re not, do something else.”
5/9-11 Dudley St, Eltham
03 8407 3830