John Marshall, a Canberra confectioner who founded the experimental ice-creamery Frugii Dessert Laboratory, has died at age 62.
- John Marshall launched his Braddon dessert store in 2015
- His unusual creations, which used flavours such as hummus and truffles, drew international praise
- Celebrity pastry chefs are among those mourning his death this week
Marshall, a migrant from Britain, was known widely in the ACT as “Mr Frugii” even before he opened his gelateria six years ago.
He had long indulged in his hobby — creating unusually flavoured ice-creams and desserts — while selling them from his home, until he launched the business on Braddon’s Lonsdale Street.
Since then, Marshall’s creations came to be featured in international culinary publications as he continued to explore atypical food combinations.
Some of his more unusual ice-cream flavours included hummus, black truffle, butter chicken and Vegemite, which he launched to mark Australia Day.
The Frugii store became emblematic of the rapidly changing Braddon precinct last decade, as it attracted a growing number of niche food, fashion and artisan businesses.
Before opening his store in 2015, Marshall told The Canberra Times he had worked with Braddon developer Nik Bulum to ensure that it would fit the vision of the precinct.
“We wanted nice clean lines, sort of minimalist design, and basically something that will match the new Braddon look,” he said.
Celebrity pastry chefs Kirsten Tibballs and Emelia Jackson were among those to mourn his passing this week.
“So much talent and passion — he will be sadly missed,” Tibballs wrote.
Marshall’s widow Ed and son Leon expressed their “great sadness and heartache” at his death.
“Our gorgeous John was a great husband and father,” the pair wrote on social media.
“We will cherish our memories of John, from his inventive and high-spirited antics, through to his legacy of Frugii Dessert Laboratory.”