9 December 2023

Five minutes with Ignace Diompy, Crust Bakery

| Claire Sams
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A Black man dividing up dough

Ignace Diompy aims to bring French-inspired baked goods to hungry Canberrans. Photo: Amy Radunz.

Who are you and what is your venue?

I’m Ignace Diompy, owner of Crust Bakery.

What are some fun facts about you?

My favourite colour is green – but not a light green, something darker. My favourite animal would be an elephant or a lion. Those are the two animals that I love.

What does your day-to-day look like?

I generally wake up pretty early, around 5 am or 5:30 am, and I do some exercise at the gym or go for a run or swim. I then have my coffee and shower.

I start my work day by planning what I need to do – looking at what projects we’re working on, what other companies I need to call, checking pricing – and talking to the managers about any difficulties they’ve had. I also talk to them about our monthly specials and what products we can create or get better at making.

I don’t have a set time that I finish, but after work, I always spend some time with my family – I have two kids and a partner, and my mum lives with us. During the week, I go to bed pretty early.

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How did you get involved in the hospitality industry?

I was 12 years old and making cakes with my mum. I found it fascinating. Every time we had people over, I was the one who would make the cakes and desserts. It was rewarding to make mistakes and learn through doing it again – but doing it better or using a different recipe.

I had an apprenticeship at a bakery and my career went from there.

A loaf of bread and condiments, photographed from above

For Ignace, his day can start as early as 5 am, working on the sweet treats for the rest of us. Photo: Crust Bakery/Facebook.

What are the menu items that really show what your venue can do?

I would say our baguettes – we always try to push those to a different level. Our sourdough breads are made with good ingredients, and good bakers are making them. We make sure they rest long enough so we are not rushing it.

We try to give everything a personal touch, and I believe that shows.

What is your favourite or must-use ingredient?

When we’re baking, the special ingredient that we use is flour – that’s the main one. We use seven kinds of flour at Crust since there are a lot of different kinds of flour. We like to explore how we can use more than just one or two kinds because it can bring some interesting tastes.

We also use a lot of butter and milk in everything – from croissants and other pastries to our breads.

What is something unique about Canberra’s food scene?

A restaurant that I really love is Onzieme – the owner is fantastic. They are known in Canberra, but I wouldn’t find something as special as that place somewhere else. I like to recommend it to people and go often. The vibe is excellent, the food is fantastic.

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What TV show or movie are you watching right now?

The only thing that I really watch is soccer or Formula One. If they’re not on too early, I can sit down and watch them on the TV – otherwise, I watch the highlights.

What is your comfort food?

My mum is the best cook I know; I love her cooking. I’m of a French-Senegalese background, and she would make some Senegalese specialities for me.

Where do you dine out for special occasions?

For an exceptional culinary experience, I go to Onzieme a lot. But if I’m in the mood for Japanese, Raku is a place I like for that and Inka’s food always tastes really nice.

Tarts with meringue being piped onto them

Ignace says Canberra’s bakeries are a strong part of the Territory’s food and wine sector. Photo: Crust Bakery/Facebook.

What do you admire in the Canberra food scene?

I respect a lot of bakeries around Canberra. From the customers’ side, the best thing to happen is to have so many great ones around. They do different kinds of products – we all use flour, but we have our different results.

I go to other bakeries sometimes and eat their goods because I enjoy trying new things.

I also love beer, and I think the culture of beer here is really great. In some European countries – and even in France, we don’t have that big selection of beers that we have in Canberra.

An easy one to finish – what’s your go-to coffee order?

I drink long black coffee. If I get tired of coffee, I switch to tea in the evenings and will have a chamomile, ginger or peppermint or a ‘sleep well’ tea.

Crust Bakery is located within the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets at 36 Mildura Street in Fyshwick, Canberra.

It is open from 7 am to 5:30 pm, Thursday to Sunday.

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