Everything There Is to Know About the Patisserie of Pain, Adriano Zumbo

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Tonight on MasterChef Australia, the patisserie of pain — as Andy eloquently put it — is returning to the kitchen for a deliciously evil pressure test. Adriano Zumbo first walked through the MasterChef doors in 2009 and is best known for his iconic (and extremely complicated) croquembouche tower. 

He was introduced to the world of sweets when he was a young boy living in the country. Raiding the lollies and cake mix at his parents’ supermarket in Coonamble, Zumbo had a penchant for sugar, and he decided to make a career out of it

Where It All Began

At the age of 15, Zumbo started his apprenticeship and was taught everything there is to know about pastry. After expanding his skills, he opened his very first store in 2007 in the affluent Sydney suburb of Balmain. It didn’t take long for locals to line up outside, wanting to get their hands on his mouth-watering macarons and other sweet treats

Shortly after, he appeared on season one of MasterChef Australia, and no one could have predicted what would happen next. After introducing the croquembouche and his infamous V8 to viewers all over the country, Zumbo quickly became a household name. Since then, he has released three bestselling cookbooks, hosted his own television series Zumbo’s Just Desserts, was a judge on the Netflix series Sugar Rush and appeared on MasterChef Australia 16 more times. 

He also collaborated with Arnott’s Tim Tams in 2015 and went on to open nine more stores throughout New South Wales and Victoria. 

Zumbo’s Downfall

While the pastry chef skyrocketed to fame following his appearance on MasterChef Australia, his downfall came soon after. Zumbo’s business empire, which was comprised of 11 stores, went into administration in 2018. 

The business owed over $10 million to creditors, employees, suppliers and the tax office, with administrators discovering that the company had been trading while insolvent since at least mid-2017. 

The TV chef admitted that watching his company’s demise was the toughest challenge of his life, revealing it took a major toll on his mental health.

“The reality is everything you pray [for] to go your way, doesn’t always happen. And you unintentionally let a lot of good people down,” he wrote on his Instagram at the time. He went on to add that he felt “unworthy” of hosting Just Desserts while his business fell apart around him.

“Everyday going to the studio I felt unworthy of being in the role I was in,” he said. “While this was happening, how could I be this colourful fun Dessert Maker host, when everything that probably got me this opportunity was failing.”

While the exact reason behind his company’s financial collapse remains unknown, in 2017, five former employees appeared on A Current Affair, claiming Zumbo withheld superannuation, failed to pay them overtime and didn’t pay them proper rates.

What Is Zumbo Doing Now?

Zumbo is currently working as an educator at Zumbo Skool, where he teaches, demos and shares his tricks of the trade when it comes to patisserie. He also continues making delectable sweet treats which you can view on his Instagram here.

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