Sydney’s spring racing carnival attracts a variety of entertainment.
So it comes as no surprise that the festive Bearded Bakers joined crowds at Randwick on Saturday, bringing their mobile bakery to serve traditional Jerusalem sweets to thousands of racegoers.
While they are primarily known for serving their mother’s popular recipe of Knafeh – a cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup and topped with pistachio – the team have street credibility for drawing in crowds with their dancing and singing.
As part of the experience as ATC ambassadors, brothers and co-owners of the Knafeh Bakery Ameer and Joey El-Issa, were asked to trawl through crowds at Randwick on Saturday in search for the most stylish gent.
“It is about guys who are adventurous, guys who play around with accessories and colours and who mix it up a bit,” Ameer El-Issa told AAP.
Sean Thompson was among the 15 men picked by the brothers to flaunt their wear in front of expert judges from GQ and walked away with a styling session from the men’s magazine worth $7,000 and a $1,000 Myer gift card.
El-Issa said the judges were looking for confidence and charisma in the male fashion parade, a criteria Thompson well and truly ticked.
“Sean just worked his colours really well,” he said.
“It was really the way he worked his outfit as well. He had this charm to him that just brought his outfit to life.”
While El-Issa admits the bakers have toned done their colourful entertainment at the races, nothing has stopped the family from cheering on older brother jockey Bobby El-Issa in the saddle.
“We have had to tame it down a lot because the stables are behind us so we are baking and shaking on conservative terms,” El-Issa said.
“It is an emotional day for the family, to have Bobby racing today on its own is a beautiful thing.”
Bobby came in 7.7 lengths behind Kurt Goldman trained horse Eckstein who won in the TAB Highway Handicap (1200 metres).
The senior jockey returned to the saddle in April after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in June 2015.
“He has been doing really well since he has been back from his illness.”
“He was a winner before he got on course today, for him to be well and riding again – we are all winners.”