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5One of Tracy’s regular customers is Bowral artist John Olsen, who parks his Jaguar snugly at the kerb outside every Saturday morning so he can buy a bag of croissants to share with his wife Kathryn. “I can’t believe this guy produces art like that at 4 am in the morning!” says John. “Tracy and I understand each other. He’s driven mad by the fact he’s trying to be perfect. The only complaint I have about this place is that it’s not large enough. Have you seen those patisseries in Paris? They’re three times as big as this and Tracy’s got the goods to stretch to that. I’m all for him expanding!”

6John’s love of his Southern Highlands property is depicted here in Hidden Lake one of the paintings that are part of his latest exhibition, Lake Eyre : The Desert Sea, at Melbourne’s Metro Gallery until 28th April. “I adore my big studio here on the edge of the lake. All the water hens, swamp hens, and coots were out this morning,” John says. “It’s a ‘Happy Life, Happy Wife” as my wifeKathryn says

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Back inside Tracy’s kitchen, some of the mysteries are revealed. Many people might say Tracy has elevated pastry-making to an art form. He insists it’s simply sheer hard work. “It’s a six day process,” he says, “With lots of resting time in between.” He should know because he trained for seven years with a Swiss pastry chef in Sydney. “There are no secrets. There are no short cuts. You’ve got to just love what you do, and stick to it.” Now, where’s that bag of brioche…?

by Ali Gripper

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