Kate Khazour, co-director of Asterisk Kitchen, and her husband Younes, co-founded Asterisk Kitchen in 2012.
It began just with him, working in their home kitchen overlooking the Yarra River in Warrandyte. After 16 years working in peak gastronomic restaurants, he rediscovered his creativity for “l’oeuvre de pâtisserie” (literally “the work of patisserie”), and so began baking his favourite sweets from childhood.
In their first year of operation, Younes had an opportunity to sell on a larger scale. Kate Khazour says: “Although he was really just finding his way – exploring recipes, doing some local markets and selling to cafés and providores – right from the get-go Younes put 100 per cent of his time into Asterisk Kitchen. He was doing all the baking, all the packing, all the label stickering, and selling and marketing on his own.”
Today, Asterisk Kitchen has moved well beyond just its founders on staff, with three in the office and from four to six in the warehouse, depending upon volumes.
In addition to cake and meringues, the company’s product range has grown to include Belgian cookies, French biscuits, and gluten-free massepain almond biscuits. Its savoury Lavosh range comes in three flavours – Fennel & Thyme, Charcoal, and Beetroot.
To widen its range, Asterisk Kitchen began taking on distributorship of select products that complement its clean, green and pure philosophy of food. Alongside its own 27 SKUs, along with 23 SKUs in foodservice, it distributes five SKUs of organic, vegan, and gluten-free products that it imports from France.
Since its inception five short years ago, Asterisk Kitchen has grown fast.
“We understand our products are seasonal, but we currently work with four retail distributors around Australia and two in foodservice,” Younes says. “We’re looking at developing this area a lot more to help us launch new SKUs in retail.
“We’re always looking at products that don’t exist here in Australia, but we are also trying our luck overseas.
“Our connections with Japan and the US are really what we’re putting effort into this year.
“We’ve grown at around 80-100 per cent year on year, and with our focus on export, we hope this continues.”