By LUCY WORMALD
Following success as wholesalers and at local market stalls, two Queenstown bakers have decided to open up a bricks and mortar base.
Gypsy Oven was started about four years ago by Javier Perez, originally from Uruguay, and Leo Wortzman, from Argentina, after the pair met working as chefs at Walter Peak.
Perez says they became fast friends and it wasn’t long before they were talking business, with a dream to set up shop selling croissants, Danish pastries and sandwiches.
Despite saying they ‘‘are not actually real bakers’’, both come from a ‘‘strong culture of baking’’, he says.
‘‘In our countries, we are like neighbours, so we have pretty much the same culture and the same influences from Italians and Spanish and French — the bakery is something people go every single day to, to get fresh bread and croissants and pastries.’’
Perez says he and Wortzman missed the daily pilgrimage to the bakery when they each moved to Queenstown about a decade ago, and so, in 2018, Gypsy Oven was born.
They initially rented a commercial kitchen before setting up their own place in 2020 and started wholesaling, with Wortzman working mornings to create pastries and Perez producing loaves by night.
‘‘Everything we do is artisan … for example, the croissants take almost three days to prepare.’’
Despite finding it difficult to crack into Queenstown’s expensive rental market, Perez says recently they felt an urge to change the business up.
‘‘So we started looking for places and suddenly this one came up and we said, ‘OK, it’s time, we have to take it, it’s now or never’.’’
With funding and consultancy support from Regional Business Partners’ government assistance package, Gypsy Oven decided to take the leap, opening a kiosk on Camp Street, beside Queenstown Hair and a neighbouring coffee shop.
There’s a soft opening today before the windows officially open next Friday.