Baker Boys are are a beloved market trader at the Market, warming the hearts and filling bellies with delicious breads, pastries and pies.
The owner and operator of Baker Boys is Jawad Ali Zada – known for his constant smile and scrumptious coffee scrolls. Jawad’s story of how he came to be at Dandenong Market is, in many ways, like many of the refugee and immigrant traders who find a home at the Market.
Jawad Ali Zada fled the Taliban and his homeland Afghanistan in 2001 before September 11. Heartbreakingly, Jawad had to leave behind his pregnant wife, who then fled to Pakistan with other family members.
When Jawad arrived in Australia as a refugee in 2001 he got a Temporary Protection Visa which didn’t allow him to go back to Afghanistan to visit his family, or allow him to bring them to Australia.
Jawad started work at Bakers Delight in Sydney as he had great experience working for his family who owned a baking business in Afghanistan. A year later Jawad moved to Melbourne and worked at Ivan’s Pies, where he stayed for seven and a half years. Starting as a casual worker, Jawad rose to the position of Production Manager.
After a long heartbreaking wait, in 2004 Jawad finally got permanent residency, meaning he could visit his family, including his wife and son whom he had never met, in Pakistan for three months. Eventually in 2005, Jawad’s wife and son were able to join him in Australia. His son was now 4 years old. It was an emotionally exciting time to have his reunited family with him and to settle in Australia, which he now considers home.
Jawad bought the Lien Hiep Bakery business in 2010 which had a store in both Oakleigh and at Dandenong Market. He increasingly became more interested at his bakery at the market, and went on to sell his Oakleigh store. Jawad enjoyed the multiculturism at the market, and saw that it was a place that attracted customers to fresh products and quality breads. Quality is something that Jawad prides himself on.
Jawad started baking on site at the market in 2014,where he specialises in oven-baked traditional (yeast and chemical free) sourdough bread, pizza bread, scrumptious pies, pastries and other baked products. His breads are based on traditional family recipes and techniques. Jawad also tries to combine Afghan recipes with Australian style breads so as to make his products part of a unique food destination for his customers.
Jawad and his wife now have three sons, including Jawad’s oldest son who is now 14 and helps out in the shop. The name “Baker Boys” is a nod to his three sons.
Baker Boys can be found at P14 in The Pantry.