When it comes to inventive pastries, Alex Crawford is Adelaide’s Sugar Man.
The rise and rise of Adelaide’s Sugar Man
It’s been a little over a year since we last spoke to Alex Crawford, the quiet achiever stocking some of Adelaide’s favourite cafés with his delicious and inventive pastries.
Through the food porn Instagram shots of his stockists, Please Say Please, Larry and Ladd and Coffylosophy (among others), a small amount of limelight is shone on the chef, but the pastry game, it seems, does not leave a lot of time for basking.
Now trading as Sugar Man Patisserie, Alex has recently moved into his first kitchen, and though the room is sparse, it’s a clear picture of ambition.
“I’m preparing myself, because I know I’m starting to get busier and busier, which is great,” Alex says.
“People were asking me to do a lot more stuff because they were intrigued and they loved what I did.
“I just thought it’s either I do something else or do this for the rest of my life.”
While Alex is best known for the weekly-rotating flavours of macarons, as his business levels up, so too does his offering.
“It took me about a year to get croissants right, because I’m self-taught,” Alex explains.
“I pretty much buckled down and tried to make them myself, and… it was probably about the start of this year I just [thought] ‘nailed it’.
“So what I’m going to do now, is every month we’re going to change the twice-baked croissants and we’re going to let people choose. I’m choosing the concept, which is going to be cheesecake, [and] I’m going to let people choose the flavour.”
This community attitude is not surprising from a chef who strives to use fresh and local ingredients to create pastries, like the lemon meringue croissant CityMag was treated to during our visit.
“All the lemons are South Australian grown. They’re all from my best friend’s tree,” Alex says.
“What I love about my pastries and all the stuff I make, from the macarons to the croissants – everything – it’s all fresh. No dried, no canned, no essence, it’s all natural, and that’s what I like to stick with.”
Alex’s space is purely wholesale at the moment, and while he does plan to retail eventually, his current focus is on building his name through the cafes he stocks – a list which is continuing to grow – and through the quality of his wares.
“It is competitive. You’ve got to progress. If you don’t progress, you die. That’s pretty much it,” Alex says.
“The amount of support I’ve got from other businesses is great… and the amount of curiosity the public have for my products, I’m really humbled by it.”