Arkady de jong is a Sydney University Arts student who has found joy in bringing delicious cakes into his classes each week for his fellow students.  One day I spotted him and his cake out of the corner of my eye when buying my afternoon coffee. As an absolute cake fiend, I rudely accosted him and lingered, subtly hinting that I wanted to try some of his masterpiece- he got the idea when not once had my eyes left his cake in the duration of our conversation.

Each week, you can find him sitting around a fig tree after class with his cake talking to friends and meeting new people intrigued by his grandeur creations. No two cakes seem to be the same, some milo themed, red velvet, rainbow, or his masterpiece- the Ferrero Rocher cake with his own giant homemade Ferrero Rocher crowning the top.  

Arkady is deeply passionate about cake making and this is evident through the time, effort and love put into these cakes. Baking for as long as he can remember, the big decadent styled cakes began at the end of high school “as procrastination and stress relief, and to bring a bit of joy to everyone else”. He finds inspiration by researching ‘magazines, blogs, what’s happening on Instagram or occasionally [he] will just have crazy idea in the middle of the night”. 

The thing that makes him different is that he combines so many different elements into his cakes with high quality ingredients that make them really scrumptious. I find now with the slight cake obsession on social media, so many of these can look amazing, beautiful and elegant, but inside they’re just cake and icing- which are often dry or tasteless. Arkady is the exception with decadent cakes that both look and taste incredible! He says the one unexpected skill he has gained from his cake making is mastering the art of carrying huge elaborate cakes on peak hour public transport. 

— Nicole Burfitt-Williams

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The two best items to have come across my desk lately are these wireless headphones by Sudio and the new Lonely Planet Food Trails book — I couldn’t narrow it down to one!

I absolutely love rose gold so these headphones accessorise well with everything I own, and as my first pair of wireless headphones, let me just say, you don’t know what you’re missing out on until you’ve had it. I’m really loving the freedom of wireless. (Sudio Sweden were kind enough to share the love and have offered all I Ate My Way Through readers 15% off! Use the discount code: iatemywaythru)

As for Food Trails… It’s basically a condensed print version of all the lost hours on Instagram where I mindlessly scroll and plan my next culinary adventure. 

— Jennifer Lam

Sudio Vasa Bla wireless headphones and Lonely Planet Food Trails - Staff Picks

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This mushroom box is a game changer! Not only does it allow you to easily grow oyster mushrooms on your kitchen bench but it’s also sustainable as the pack utilises coffee waste (of upto 80 cups of coffee!) from Melbourne cafes. Win/win. These are from Melbourne start up Life Cykel, I first found out about them a few months ago on Kickstarter and backed them immediately to get my hands on one of these excellent boxes. Since then they reached their Kickstarter goal and have an urban mushroom farm going in shipping containers that supplies local cafes and restaurants, plus they sell these grow at home mushroom packs. These pictures show my babies at the 7 day mark (so proud) and they usually take about 10-14 days to start off. They’ll be ready to harvest soon once they grow bigger. You can actually grow up to 3 crops with this one box as well! Dream come true.

— Margaret Sevenhazi

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I bought this amazing gizmo (aka Key Safe) for a present and immediately went and got one for myself. It’s not just great for surfers (I don’t surf), but for beach time, or anytime you don’t want to leave your key on you. You just lock it to your car, pop the key in and secure it with your secret code! You can purchase them from most surf/sports shops. I got this one from City Beach. — Phoebe Brown

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When it comes to coconut ice-creams I’ve tried my fair share and can now present to you the clear leader of the pack, Zebra Dream. Don’t let the vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, soy-free label put you off, this is the stuff of guilt-free dessert dreams. With eight favours to choose from including Wild Choc Orange and Mint and Pana Choc Mint you’ll be hard pressed to pick a favourite but let’s face it, Salted Caramel is always a winner.

— Nicole Redfern

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I met the love of my “food” life two years ago when holidaying in Italy, her name is Sfogliatelle. 

Her curvaceous figure is highlighted by countless layers of crispy and flaky thin pastry stretched, rolled, and stretched again in extraordinary craftsmanship by skillful hands.  She is well recognised for her distinctive ridges formed after the rolled pastry is sliced and manipulated into an ice-cream cone shape and opens up after baking.  She goes well with either custard or baked ricotta fillings, neither of which is overly sweet.  I absolutely adore the crunchy noises she murmurs when my teeth caressing her golden brown body.  It was love at first sight but now it has become a long-standing love affair.  

— Sarah Allport

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Being a self-proclaimed Doughnut connoisseur that I am, I am always on the lookout for a new flavour to try. What I have noticed to be a trend in Sydney right now, are the rise of handmade, gourmet doughnuts. I am clearly not complaining because when it comes to these deep fried balls of happiness; I’m all about that life. I sure do love supporting up and coming small businesses and Donut Papi is one of the few new contenders that I believe are the ones to watch. I’ve been able to get my hands on their doughnuts a few times now and they have honestly got me coming back for more each time. The flavours they offer are like my mixtape – straight 🔥. I love that the flavours totally remind me of my childhood. My personal favourites include black sesame, Coconut and Pandan, Ube (Purple Yam) and Birthday Cake (You are never too old for Birthday Cake; Rihanna said so). On all occasions I’ve had their Bombo’s, they have been fresh so the dough itself has that sugary crust with a pillowy soft innard. The different mousse fillings are what brings these to the next level. Each filling isn’t too overpowering as the flavours are perfectly well balanced with a creamy undertone. Just like J.Lo said… “I Luh Ya (Donut) Papi” Probably not what she meant 😂. 

— Justin Isip

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London is a city with a lot to see and do, and a lot to eat and drink, so why not combine the two? Duck and Waffle is located 40 floors up, at the top of the Heron Tower, and is the perfect spot to soak in the glorious sprawling hub of London while sipping on a tasty cocktail. If you’re organised, you can book ahead for dinner, or if you’re not, (like me) you can just drop in for a drink in the bar. I’d recommend the Pine Needle Lemonade for a light, refreshing cocktail. The drinks are not super cheap, but considering you’d be paying double the price of a cocktail just to get similar vantage points at other tourist attractions, it’s more than worth it. Perfect spot to take in the breathtaking view, feel a little bit fancy, and watch the world go by below.

— Jess Cronin

Beating the fierce heat of the Spanish sun with a daily dose of ice cream at Gelaaati Di Marco. This glorious waffle cone has a scoop of raspberry, dulce de leche and pistachio/ricotta/saffron gelato – the blissful taste of Summer in Europe! 

— Eddie Hart

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It’s easy to stick to the Mediterranean diet – my partner and I recently discovered Proud & Punch Plain Frozen Greek Style Yoghurt in our freezer aisle and haven’t looked back.

The texture is light, smooth, and summery. Meanwhile the taste is sweet and subtly tart. It’s froyo with form – flecks of it do well in a bowl with frozen fruits like mango and blueberries.

— Mark Starmach

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OK, the secret is out. How does one keep a balanced diet whilst constantly eating, you ask? My staff pick for this month is the latest and greatest. No, it’s not the newest iPhone or Pixel. It’s Forest Super Foods’ Organic Super Greens powder. I take a teaspoon mixed with water first thing in the morning and I feel amazing! Nothing complex, it contains equal parts of Organic Spirulina (20%), Organic Australian Wheat Grass (20%), Organic Australian Barley Grass (20%), Organic Chlorella (20%) and Organic Kale (20%). The best thing is you know exactly what you are taking into your body unlike a lot of other super greens out there with hundreds of ingredients.

— Zen Huang

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.