Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - The Buzz - By Sarah Oakes

The Newyork­times called it first. Lune, a bakery in Mel­bourne, is turn­ing out the best crois­sants in the world. Queues to taste one of the flaky, golden cre­ations snaked around the cor­ner of a Fitzroy ware­house each morn­ing, de­spite the re­li­ably un­for­giv­ing Mel­bur­nian weather. More ex­tra­or­di­nary than the de­vo­tion of the fans and the hail­storm of me­dia at­ten­tion was the story of the woman be­hind the bak­ing. Kate Reid was 13 when she de­cided she wanted to be an engi­neer; more specif­i­cally, she wanted to be the first fe­male tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor of a For­mula One rac­ing team. She com­pleted a five-year aero­space de­gree and worked stints at Volk­swa­gen and Ford be­fore ac­cept­ing a role as a ju­nior aero­dy­nam­i­cist at Wil­liams F1 in the UK. But Kate was con­fronted with a harsh re­al­ity: af­ter years of hard work and sin­gle-minded de­vo­tion to achiev­ing her ca­reer goals, she re­alised her dream job was not as ful­fill­ing as she had hoped. She found the work in­tense, iso­lat­ing, repet­i­tive and al­most com­pletely de­void of the cre­ativ­ity and team ca­ma­raderie she had imag­ined.

Much has been writ­ten about her jour­ney from here to start­ing Lune Crois­san­terie in 2012, but what most pro­files ne­glect to men­tion is the tremen­dous emo­tional and phys­i­cal bat­tle she fought to get there. Kate’s un­hap­pi­ness at work and the dis­in­te­gra­tion of her child­hood dream led to a deep and de­bil­i­tat­ing de­pres­sion. She be­gan to fix­ate on her weight, the only thing she could con­trol, and com­menced a se­ri­ous and scar­ring bat­tle with anorexia ner­vosa.

Af­ter four dif­fi­cult years and a pe­riod at home with her fam­ily, Kate’s jour­ney to re­cov­ery be­gan with work­ing a few hours a day mak­ing cakes and pas­tries at a lo­cal cafe. It was dur­ing this pe­riod that her Slid­ing Doors mo­ment hap­pened. One af­ter­noon, af­ter fin­ish­ing her shift, she found her­self at home with a new cof­fee-ta­ble book about Parisian patis­series. She opened the book to a dou­ble-page photo of a stack of pains au chocolat at Parisian boulan­gerie Du Pain et des Idées. Hyp­no­tised by their per­fec­tion, she closed the book, walked to the travel agent and booked a ticket to Paris.

You might say the rest is his­tory, but Kate’s jour­ney from that mo­ment is ex­tra­or­di­nary in ev­ery way. A for­mally un­trained baker, she nev­er­the­less se­cured an ap­pren­tice­ship at Du Pain et des Idées and learnt the craft. Back at home, she took the tech­ni­cal skills from her back­ground in en­gi­neer­ing and used them to el­e­vate what she’d learnt. Ini­tially bak­ing and sell­ing from a tiny shopfront, she im­me­di­ately cut a swathe through the noisy Mel­bourne food scene. And those long queues be­gan to form.

Kate is not only a vi­sion­ary, she’s also a pioneer, an in­no­va­tor and, more than any­thing else, a war­rior. She tram­pled and con­quered her demons and found sweet and spec­tac­u­lar suc­cess along the way.

Sarah Oakes is ed­i­tor of Aus­tralian Gourmet Trav­eller.

KATE REID wears Scan­lan Theodore jump­suit, $550; Stuart Weitz­man shoes, $695; her own neck­lace. BEAUTY NOTE: Estée Lauder Lit­tle Black Primer mas­cara.

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