Spotlight on Egon’s Bakery, Macedon Square, Templestowe Lower
In the age of pre-packaged treats and franchised coffee shops dishing out cakes and pies produced en masse, it is humbling to visit stalwart bakery Egon’s in Templestowe Lower’s Macedon Square.
The sweet buttery smell of warm pastry dough immediately permeates your senses as you enter this unassuming shop front, which has been serving up fresh bread, cakes, pastries and pies to locals in the Manningham region for nearly 50 years.
Whilst there is little doubt that it is the store’s authenticity and quality product that has cemented Egon’s as a local institution, the sheer longevity and experience of the Cyganek family in the baking game can certainly not be discounted. For the Cyganeks, baking is not just a vocation, but a way of life.
“My godfather had three shops which my father used to run, so I’ve been around bakeries since I was very young. I helped in the businesses after school,” says Gary Cyganek, owner and operator of Egon’s.
Aptly named after Gary’s father Egon, the bakery opened in August 1971 and is likely one of the oldest businesses in the Manningham region. Though Egon has since passed on the baking baton, his legacy continues through his son Gary, who runs the bakery today.
“I started here in a temporary role in 1971 and then commenced full-time in 1976 with my father, whilst also completing my apprenticeship at William Angliss. I was apprentice of the year in Victoria in 1980 and took over from my Dad in the shop in 1990,” says Gary.
“I enjoy the work, I enjoy the people, but I still don’t like the starting time,” says Gary. “I get here most days at 2.30am; 1.30am on Fridays and 2am on Saturdays. They’re long hours but certainly not as long as they used to be. We’re better organised now with more equipment, better ovens and the like.”
As is the case with all of Egon’s handmade cakes, pastries and pies, it only takes me one bite of their signature ‘Bienenstich’ cake, a sweet custard filled cake topped with almonds, to appreciate the impact experience has on quality. In fact, the humble bakery basked in its own ‘5 minutes of fame’ in 1995 when it took out the top prize in the coveted Great Aussie Pie Competition, a competition still running today.
“Winning pie of the year in 1995 gave us a lot of media attention,” says Gary. “We had lots of interviews from newspapers, TV and radio stations.”
Since then, Egon’s has subsisted in a more silent manner, preferring to serve its European style cakes and bread to regulars who simply like to bask in the no frills glory of the crunchy and sumptuous pastry handmade by Gary and his team.
Egon’s is open 6 days a week from 7am to 5.30pm Monday through Friday and from 7am to 2pm on Saturdays.