A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Holy Sugar Pastry Chef, Audrey Allard

When Audrey Allard tossed up between studying fine arts or becoming a patisserie apprentice after high school, she ultimately settled on the latter, deciding she would find ways to bring art into her food.

Looking at the line-up of Basque cheesecake slices – browned to perfection – or the glassy shine on her passionfruit tart, it’s hard to argue that she’s created anything less than edible works of art, now proudly displayed in the window of her very own dessert shop, Holy Sugar.

What started as a side-hustle delivering dessert boxes during Melbourne’s lockdowns has since evolved into an incredibly dreamy storefront in Northcote. The 26-year-old wakes up most days around 3am to start making her delectable treats – which unsurprisingly, often sell out!

We joined the talented pastry chef for a typical day in her life.

Christina Karras

Audrey Allard launched Holy Sugar in 2020 when she started baking treats for her housemates in lockdown. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Three years later, her business now has its own store front, and often sells out before midday! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Her day starts early, with a 3am wake-up! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘I swore I would never open a shop, however one morning I woke up and just knew I was ready so I looked online for vacant buildings in Northcote, found 236 High Street, fell in love and signed the lease,’ she says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Audrey completed the shop renovation herself, which included painting the walls, ripping down plaster, removing windows and installing stained glass windows! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Holy Sugar’s cabinet is always lined with perfectly baked and decorated treats. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

I think my love language is baking for others,’ Audrey says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

I tend to stay away from Gelatines, mirror glazes, food colouring and stick to classics that are simple but so good.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

She says the most rewarding part of her job is hearing how much people love her baking. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

All of her delectable sweets are portioned just before the store opens at 9am. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

The lemon meringue tart is mouth-wateringly good! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Audrey says her brûlée tart took her months to perfect. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

A lot of things just aren’t taught and you have to figure out how to get your product to do what you want,’ she says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Audrey with her brûlée tart and passionfruit tart! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

You can find Holy Sugar at 236 High St Northcote. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Before the store opens, Audrey pops across the road to pick up some flowers from the ‘Fresh Flowers On High‘ across the road. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

She chooses a selection to display in the store! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

At the end of the day, there’s nothing sweeter than hopping in bed. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘My room is my sacred place. The bigger the day, the more time I need in bed doing nothing!’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Christina Karras
17th of April 2023

If you ask someone what their love language is, you normally expect an answer like ‘quality time’ or ‘acts of service’. But pastry chef and owner of Holy Sugar, Audrey Allard says hers is ‘baking for others’.

Growing up in northern New South Wales, she was ‘obsessed’ with lemon delicious, golden syrup dumplings and Crêpes Suzette – a French dessert featuring crêpes with a zesty sauce of caramelised sugar and butter that feels sort of sophisticated, and yet exactly on brand for a primary school-aged sweet tooth.

‘I’ve always loved sweets, and for once in my life I felt like I was actually good at something,’ Audrey says. My mum would always say, “if you want it, make it yourself”, and it honestly became a weekly ritual.’

She started her Patisserie apprenticeship a few weeks after high school. By her third year, she decided to pack up her life in the car with plans of moving to ‘the city’ to build her culinary skills. ‘When I reached Sydney, Phil Woods [former executive chef at Rockpool] had accepted my job application to work at Pt Leo Estate, so I kept driving until I reached the Mornington Peninsula,’ she adds. Six years since she moved to Melbourne, she’s experienced bakeries, bistros, fine dining and even a stint at the world-famous Lune Croissanterie.

It meant that when lockdown hit in 2020, she had the skill to follow through on a ‘super irrational and impulsive idea’ to start her own business at 23. And last year, Audrey opened the doors to her own IRL dessert heaven in Northcote after tackling the renovation.

‘I painted walls, ripped down plaster, ripped out bars, removed glass windows and installed stained-glass ones,’ she explains. ‘I spent almost 70 hours cleaning and clearing out the kitchen alone and installed the lemon mosaic that I thought would take a few days, but ended up taking almost two months!’

The space is delightful. Cream brick walls, cottagecore vintage plates and fresh flowers are the perfect backdrop to her nostalgic selection of lemon meringue pies, brûlée tarts and cinnamon crullers that have made Holy Sugar one of Melbourne’s most beloved sweet spots – reminiscent of cult-status bakery Beatrix Bakes. In fact, Audrey has even turned to owner Natalie Paull for advice through the highs and lows of being a mostly one-woman, business.

Audrey says it’s been ‘a big journey’. But you wouldn’t wake up at 3am to make it all happen (and do it all again tomorrow) if your heart wasn’t in it. There’s no disputing Audrey loves what she does, and her customers do too.

‘The most rewarding part would be overhearing someone rave about a product,’ she adds. ‘It never gets old.’

First Thing

I wake up between 3am and 4am. The first thing I do is have a coffee! I look forward to it even when I’m going to bed, but I definitely I function the best in the morning. I’m fresh, I have a clear head and the energy to push on.


I start work between around 3:30am-4:30am to get started in the kitchen: getting the oil up to temp to start frying crullers, baking everything off that needs to cool before we portion. I always try to make sure we have enough to keep the shelves full to avoid selling out.

All of the products need to be portioned right before opening the shop at 9am. It’s always a mad rush, it’s hard to catch up among serving customers if you start to fall behind.


I definitely need to take more breaks, but I try to take half an hour to have something to eat and a mental reset. Half the time I go across to Tinker the cafe and get a snack, because the last thing I want to do is stop cooking, to cook for myself.


We’re open until 2pm, so there’s always the (not so fun) close down jobs like bins, sweep, mop scrub-down. I usually try to run my errands in the afternoon if I have any: purchasing flowers, stocking up on anything I’ve forgotten to order. Responding to emails, messages are also an afternoon job.

Afternoons are the hardest for me! My energy level is at a 0 and there’s always so much to do!


I finish work between 4pm-6pm on a regular day. There’s an odd 7pm-10pm finish here and there. Dinner might be Uber Eats, or maybe be the lunch I didn’t get to finish or dumplings from down the road. It’s whatever is the easiest and most convenient, but I always try treat myself if I’ve had a big day.

My bedroom is honestly my sacred place and I love getting into my comfy robe to relax. The bigger the day the more time I need in bed doing nothing, and watching‘The Office’ always helps me unwind!

At the end of the week I’ll try to pamper myself a little and watch a movie or something. I’m usually too exhausted to go out and do anything!

Last Thing

I usually get to sleep between 9:30pm-12am! I often get between 4 to 6 hours sleep while I’m working, but up to 20 hours on a Sunday night! I honestly don’t know how I function off so little, but I feel like I’m more productive with less sleep – it’s weird!

Visit Holy Sugar at 236 High Street, Northcote and follow Audrey on Instagram here.

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