The Sugar Man: the man who recreated the croissant

Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you’re living in Adelaide and haven’t yet heard of The Sugar Man, you’re going to want to follow him after reading this interview and discovering his creations.

Alex Crawford, cafés across Adelaide have been graced with your creations and you’ve garnered a bit of a cult following, where did it all start?

I started working at Chloe’s Restaurant as a commis when I was 14, slowly climbing the ranks in the kitchen. I used to come into the restaurant on my days off to gain more experience in techniques and methods (eg. Making puff pastry, ice cream bases, tempering chocolate). That is when I first fell in love with desserts/pastries.


I left the restaurant to concentrate on school and finish Year 12. After school I sort of fell into the pastry industry by accident making macarons for local cafes in Adelaide CBD. After a few years I took the leap to expand my pastry business and started a wholesale kitchen. From there I made all types of pastries for cafés. I didn’t have the money to buy sheeters/rollers so I hand rolled all my pastries. Popular items were Normandy butter croissants, donuts, entremets, sfogliatelle and macarons. Everything was made fresh in house. Some of these flavours include…


  • Golden Gaytime Croissant: Croissant filled with vanilla bean and honeycomb crème, dipped in a chocolate mirror glaze and coated in sable biscuit crumbs.
  • Pavlova Croissant: Croissant filled with passion fruit curd, whipped chantilly cream, fresh raspberries and garnished with small meringues and fresh strawberries.
  • Crunchy Nut Cornflake macarons, Iced Donut macarons, Custard Tart macaron (using house made custard tarts)

Wholesale prices, rent and rates increase made it difficult to survive, so I decided not to renew my lease at the end of 2017. I had a 4 month break to travel around Italy and to learn/explore the chocolate industry. I released the chocolate bars to some old clients and they proved to be popular.


Were you often baking as a child? 

My mum liked to bake cakes and muffins, so she taught me when I was young. But I definitely fell in love with it when I worked in the pastry section at Chloe’s Restaurant. I’ve been lucky to pick up some devoted followers along the way, and I am very appreciative of people’s unwavering patience and support!


What’s your favourite creation to date? 

My favourite is my Bar Snack cookie that took me months to perfect the recipe. It consists of potato chips, pretzels, beer nuts, peanut butter choc chips, super dark chocolate and topped with Murray river pink salt. Crunchy, chewy, salty, sweet…YUM

Otherwise I love the classic almond croissant, the Italian classic sfogliatelle or hazelnut praline filled choux…anything with butter and cream!


My favourites to make at home are souffles, crème caramel, lemon tart or apple tarte tatin . My baking and cooking style is French and Italian

Adelaide Hills strawberry soufflé with AH strawberry sauce and housemade pistachio ice cream


What do the French, who are often very protective of their cuisine, think of your creations? 

I keep my croissants as traditional as I can, and for this I think the French are appreciative. They are sticklers for tradition. I use a cultured French Normandy butter in my croissants, which is expensive but the flavour is out of this world. It takes three days to make from start to finish, which is a long time but It’s all about the finer details that make it delicious.


You’ve moved towards decadent gourmet blocks of chocolate, are you still creating patisseries? 

I occasionally make pastries for pop ups, but at the moment I’m concentrating on chocolate until I find a retail shop and new kitchen.


Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration comes from nostalgic flavours and foods that I grew up with, as well as the local produce grown in South Australia.

Twice baked hazelnut and chocolate pain au chocolat


Any kitchen nightmares? Creations that didn’t go as planned? 

There’s always things that can go wrong (fillings not setting right, overbeating mixtures and creams, under/over proving doughs.) It’s my job as a pastry chef to overcome those issues if they come to hand and to problem solve. Most of my kitchen nightmares are due to weather conditions. Australian climate is not friendly to the pastry industry…in Summer, butter melts far too quickly and dough over-proves because of the heat.


Conversely, any creations that you were dubious about but worked out better than expected? 

Many of my creations have surprised me. Sometimes I have a great idea for a product and it it will come together on the first go. Sometimes those ideas need time to test and the recipes have to be worked on. I’ve been working on a pavlova chocolate bar with crunchy meringue, roasted macadamias, freeze dried fruits in the chocolate and in the middle is tangy passion-fruit curd. It’s still not quite right, but it will get there.

Salted Pistachio chocolate bar


What’s your guilty pleasure? 

Guilty pleasures are chocolate, buttery pastries, sea salt potato chips or crunchy peanut butter, which is how the Bar Snack cookie came to life!


Where and when can people taste your creations? 

My chocolate bars are available at Smelly Cheese Shop, East End Cellars, Belair Fine Wines, FRED Eatery and First Order Coffee.

Twice baked blueberry pie croissant topped with whipped vanilla bean cream and crunchy pie crumb


What’s next? Is your own store front in the future? 

At the moment I’ll keep making chocolate bars in the Adelaide Hills, I’m on the look out for a retail shop and kitchen. Watch this space!


In the meantime there will be a Sugar Man Pop Up in the middle of the year, I’ll let everyone know the date and where it will be weeks in advance.


My next event will be at Baddog Bar, we’ll be doing a pastry pairing with whiskey.


Baddog v The Sugar Man event

Join Zac (Baddog) and Alex (The Sugar Man) as they take you on a sweet journey of whiskey and dessert.

Enjoy 4 courses of The Sugar Man creations paired with carefully selected whiskeys from around the world.

Zac and Alex will guide you through each course and will be around all night for chats about whiskey, chocolate and life.


Tickets cost $85.49 and can be purchased here:


To follow The Sugar Man’s creations and pop-ups follow him on facebook.


Have you ever tried The Sugar Man’s creations?



Enter your email to subscribe to new article notifications about all things French and francophone in Australia

Related Posts

Matilda Marseillaise

Discover more from Matilda Marseillaise

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading