It is not difficult for me to imagine what the majority of 14 year olds were doing today. After all, I spend about forty weeks a year with them as an English and History teacher, so I can predict how many of them will be spending their school holidays; playing video games, going to the local pool or visiting the beach on these hot days, ‘hanging’ at the local shopping centre, seeing movies with their friends. And so they should- it is their holidays after all.
Every now and then however one does stumble across a rather exceptional 14 year old, and this time I came across one not through teaching, but through my other job in the foodie world- Morgan Hipworth, the boy behind successful Melbourne baking business Bistro Morgan, who some would know as the ‘doughnut prince’.
What was Morgan Hipworth doing this morning? After packing up his baked goods to deliver to Hawk and Hunter, just one of the many cafes he supplies to, he whipped up some incredible doughnuts, and then sat on his computer doing some calculations about how much it would cost to run his own cafe. This dream is in addition to the dream Morgan, is already living day to day as he supplies ten Melbourne cafes with over 700 handmade doughnuts every weekend.
Having afternoon tea with Morgan and his mum Ellie, who he affectionately refers to as his ‘apprentice’, I quickly learned that Morgan is no ordinary teenager. His passion for cooking began at the ripe, young age of 7, and as his Mum fondly recalled being invited to dine in ‘Bistro Morgan’ on three course meals with friends and family cooked by her young son, I remembered my own dream of owning a restaurant called ‘The Purple Palace’, something I was hell bent on doing when I was a pre-teen. The difference between me and Morgan? He is actually making it happen.
The avid baker and cooks’ life took a very exciting turn at the beginning of 2015 when his local cafe Hawk and Hunter agreed to take Morgan on as a new supplier, stocking his cakes, bakes and slices on a daily basis. When he was asked by the cafe to try his hand at some doughnuts, Morgan’s baking game stepped up even more and Melbourne’s ‘doughnut prince’ was born. With crazy flavours like ‘Salted Caramel Popcorn’, ‘White Chocolate, Raspberry and Pistachio Syringe’, ‘Persian Fairy Floss’ and ‘S’more’, and new flavours every week, it is no wonder that there is hype surrounding Bistro Morgan. Having tasted his doughnuts however, it is more than that. Morgan uses no packet mixes, makes everything by hand and uses fresh butter and eggs which makes for a light and fluffy doughnut.
Morgan and Ellie are both laughing as they recall perhaps the craziest day of Morgan’s young life, August 10th, when Morgan shot to fame after an article in the Herald Sun. Waking up to a friend request and Facebook message from the producer at the Today Show wanting him to come to Sydney immediately, being followed around by Channel 9 reporters whilst making his daily deliveries, having Sunrise on his doorstep trying to head hunt the story and camera crews filming him making doughnuts in his council approved kitchen at home was just the beginning of a whirlwhind 24 hours for Morgan; one which ended with him making doughnuts in a hotel room in Sydney which featured on the Today Show the following morning. After experiencing a crazy few days, Morgan returned back to school where he had to show his teachers some videos of him on television so they would believe he hadn’t just been taking a couple of sickies.
Now, almost one year on from his very first doughnut gig at Hawk and Hunter, Morgan’s doughnuts are stocked in cafes all over Melbourne. His photos are regular hits on social media, especially his signature syringe doughnuts, and he sold out 1000 doughnuts at the November Flour Market where his stall was an absolute success. He leaps at opportunities to self-teach or learn from others in the industry, from doing work experience at Pope Joan, to spending time with bakers at his local Bakers Delight learning about making bread. I ask Morgan what he does ‘for fun’, and he says besides participating in Athletics, cooking is his fun. He tells me about the weekend just gone, when he was bored, so decided to casually bake a triple layer chocolate ganache cake surrounded by a white chocolate nest with his little cousins, who adore baking with Morgan.
And where to from here? For now, Morgan knows he needs to focus on finishing year 12 before he pursues his dream of opening a cafe or restaurant, but I think secretly (or not so secretly) he is hoping to start to pursue this a little sooner; which may be possible considering how well he is juggling school and work now! When asked if he plans to pursue any training in cooking when he leaves school, he shrugs, and states humbly, “If I am serving really good food, it shouldn’t matter if I am a trained chef or a cook”. As I bite into an absolutely delectable Bistro Morgan ‘Lemon Brulee’ doughnut, his doughnut skills self taught and the flavours coming from his imagination, I have to agree with him. If this is the kind of food he is churning out before he even reaches VCE, I cannot even imagine how his skills will have developed in four or five years time. All I know is, whereever Morgan is working in a few years time, I want to book a table already.
To find out where you can find Bistro Morgan doughnuts, head to his website by clicking here.