While a lot of people started baking during COVID-19, Bob Clark took the pandemic pastime a step further and turned it into a business.
Bob's Biscuits was launched in 2020 after the Valley Heights resident used the COVID-19 hiatus to develop a range of high quality biscuits.
"I was looking for a job when COVID hit, which wasn't the best time to be looking for a job, so I thought why not give something a little bit different a try," he said.
The 28-year-old's family and friends gave him the impetus to explore the opportunity after they were won over by biscuits he baked as Christmas gifts in 2019.
"I'd made some packs (of biscuits) for friends and received lots of really great feedback from everyone and my Dad said 'This could be a business, something you could give a try'."
After spending months testing and perfecting recipes - and completing the government-run New Enterprise Incentive Scheme for aspiring entrepreneurs - the former Winmalee Public School student was ready to launch his biscuit range to the public.
Shoppers at the October 2020 Springwood Growers Market enjoyed the first taste of Bob's Biscuits and had the same positive reaction as his family and friends.
"That gave me the inspiration and the drive to go: 'Hey this could absolutely be a viable thing'," he said.
Since that first market, the range of Bob's Biscuits has grown from six to nine and expanded to include brownies and brittle as well.
"If it starts with a 'B' and has sugar in it, then Bob is interested in selling it," he said.
The biscuits feature only high quality ingredients (including couverture chocolate and proper unsalted butter) rather than artificial preservatives. The range includes Peanut Butter Choc Chip and Triple Fudge Choc Death along with distinctly Australian lines with a fresh twist like Fairy Bread biscuits, Malted Milo Milkshake, and Wattleseed and Macadamia Anzacs.
"That was my intention from the beginning: to take some classic, popular flavours and put my own spin on them. They're still recognisable, but they're recognisably Bob's as well," said their creator.
But the most popular item in the Bob's Biscuits range has its origins in the United States.
"The widest demand is for the Cinnamon Snickerdoodle biscuit, which I unfortunately can't take credit for coming up with the idea," said Bob. "It's a popular biscuit from America which I've introduced here. I like to think I make the best possible version of it though."
One customer was such a fan she ordered a special batch of Cinnamon Snickerdoodles for her wedding.
"I was really honoured to be a part of their special day. They messaged me afterwards and said everyone loved the biscuits and asked them where they got them from," said Bob.
With other flavours including Malted White Chocolate Macadamia, and Coffee Hazelnut Dark Choc Chip, what is Bob's favourite?
"I think my favourite is whatever is in my mouth at the moment!" he said. "If I didn't love it myself I wouldn't sell it. I really do love all of my flavours - a lot of effort and love went into making them. It really just depends on what mood strikes me."
The budding entrepreneur credits his family for sparking his interest in baking.
"I think the passion came from my mother and grandmother. They were both keen bakers and they really inspired me with a love of baking and a love of cooking... I've always had a massive sweet tooth too," he said.
Bob's Biscuits are made from his Valley Heights home, although what started as a small operation in his kitchen has now expanded to a downstairs workshop featuring a larger mixer and oven.
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