Head baker at 1816 Bakehouse Josh Chapman worked in a number of unique environments before co-founding his artisan sourdough bakery.
"I was been lucky enough to be involved in the café program at Ballarat Specialist School's farm campus," says Josh, who has been a qualified baker for 17 years.
"Working with those kids was a pretty awesome experience and the school was such a great organisation to be a part of."
Josh also worked at The Forge Pizzeria for a number of years and says working in its open kitchen was not only heaps of fun, but also inspired the open bakery at 1816 Bakehouse.
Inspiration also came from Josh's dad, who was a baker for more than 50 years, together with visits to bakeries in Daylesford and Trentham to buy artisan bread.
"I felt that a place the size of Ballarat should have a bricks-and-mortar shop front for high quality, artisan bread," he says. "I had dinner one night with a friend of mine, Chris Matthews, and we discussed the idea of opening a sourdough bakery. I became business partners with Chris and his brother Tim, and 1816 was opened in the winter of 2019."
Josh says he enjoys working in the hospitality industry in Ballarat, describing it as a close community with great people in great venues.
"I love our team at 1816 Bakehouse," he says. "It's great to work with amazing professionals who have passions similar to mine. It's rewarding to come to work every day and produce bread for our community.
"Seeing our bread and pastries being used on menus around the region is exciting, it's nice to know that other hospitality professionals are excited about our products too."
Josh says he takes pride in providing his customers with high quality products made by passionate people.
"I love being able to supply people with a delicious, quality loaf to make someone's day a little bit better," he says.
"Bread has always been my passion and to be able to grow a business from it has been a privilege. If you're early enough to catch me in the bakery, I'm always ready to have a chat about sourdough and baking."
Currently juggling baking hours with a young family ("starting in the middle of the night and trying to sleep during the day can be challenge"), where does Josh see himself in five years' time?
"We'd love to be involved in some more markets (and) we are currently looking into expanding in to this space," he says. "Longer term, I'd love to 1816 products to be stocked in small independent supermarkets around the area. Maybe we will have a few more shopfronts around Ballarat and the district.
"I might just be in just the same spot, in front of oven making bread and talking to customers."