We may not see it when we walk in the door, but some Gold Coast business owners come from rather surprising backgrounds, facing tough cultural challenges along the way.
That’s the case for Moonsun Yoo, owner of 5B2F Bakehouse. From South Korea, Moonsun grew up in a family of bakers. He was always cooking in the kitchen and knew he wanted to be a chef from an early age, training in the culinary art of international hotels. While working as a chef in the Hyatt Seoul, he found his specialty: pastry.
“That was my proper start,” he tells me. “For fourteen years, I got to work with amazing executive chefs from around the world. Each one of them had his own different methods and specialties. Each one had a different philosophy. I learned so much. Pastries in Asia are very high level.”
Moonsun advanced to Head Pastry Chef, transferring to the Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove before moving back to Hyatt in Seoul at the same level.
He returned to the Gold Coast in 2013, heading up and consulting to some of our most prominent sweet and pastry shops, before opening his own bakery and pastry shop in Chirn Park late in 2016.
At 5B2F Bakehouse, which stands for the Biblical ‘five bread, two fish’ Jesus provides to feed the five thousand, Moonsun makes everything from scratch: woodfired sourdough, house-made pies and sausage rolls, different types of French pastries such as croissants and cronuts, cakes and biscuits, some petite cakes, and special occasion baking such as stöllen, where even the marzipan is made by hand.
“Food is culture,” he says, “especially bread. It’s so much a part of Australian life. But I grew up with rice. So different. There’s also a big American influence in Korea. Everything is so sweet.”
Food was a cultural divide. Determined to learn about Aussie culture, when Moonsun went shopping, he’d take home cookbooks from Woolworths to cook the dishes you’d find in Aussie kitchens.
“I’ve even eaten every brand of meat pie in the freezer section, trying to see what pies should taste like!” he recounts, laughing at my screwed-up face. I’m thinking how different Aussie culture is, even within itself!
It’s no mean achievement, then, for 5B2F to rate in the Bulletin’s Top 10 pies on the Gold Coast! It shows just how far Moonsun has come.
“I’m an Aussie now,” he says, his round face beaming as he hands over a house-baked pie order to a tradie.
Although business is booming, with two other chefs employed, Moonsun is not satisfied. He has big dreams of extending the patisserie side of his business. However, the environment required for making fine pastry is critical, unlike the fluctuating temperatures in his tiny shop.
“I decided to make this business a strong local bakery with pies and sausage rolls, nice coffee and a friendly design,” he tells me, pointing out the wood-fired oven used to bake the rustic fare.
Moonsun plans to open another patisserie within three years where he’ll offer international pastries and high teas.
We can’t wait!