You can smell Paul Simon way before you meet him.
Some days he smells of strawberries, some days of raspberries and others, especially in summer, it's the aroma of fig and lemon that he exudes like a haze.
But today, as he stands stirring a big metal pot of bubbling jam, its surface dimpled with large pieces of unbroken fruit, it's unmistakably strawberry.
''I do love jam, and I always have,'' says Simon, 39, who makes 100 kilograms a day, every day, at his small commercial kitchen in a busy corner shop in Surry Hills. ''I think everyone loves it. Toast and jam is on every Sydney cafe menu, there's a jar in every kitchen and fruit is so abundant here, there's many people who make their own.''
Simon has been making his own, and many other peoples', for the past six years. A pastry chef by trade, he became interested in making jam when he migrated from London to Sydney in 2000 and, after spells in restaurants, worked in a patisserie on the north shore that cooked jam to use in its cakes.
Six years later, he launched his own company and, working with a food scientist to help solve several problems - such as raspberry pips rising to the top, the variety of colours and the thickness and consistency - created his own jams under his label, Jam Packed with Fruit. He started out making it in a corner of a cafe he opened, but demand grew so quickly the jam making took over and he closed the cafe side of the business.
Today, he makes 20 flavours, ranging from classics, such as strawberry and raspberry, to fig and lemon, peach and passionfruit, rhubarb and rose petal, and ruby red grapefruit marmalade.
The jars are sold in delis and grocery shops throughout Sydney, as well as from his premises on Cleveland Street. Simon also supplies up to 50 cafes at any time. In addition, with the help of a staff of three, he also makes a daily range of 500 to 600 cakes - using his own jam inside, of course - and pies to deliver to cafes daily.
''When I started, there was only one gourmet jam available, Hank's Jam, and the rest were just supermarket jams,'' Simon says. ''I felt there was a real gap in the market for good jam that had much more fruit in it, and without preservatives or additives, especially for the cafe trade.
''There's 60 per cent fruit in my jams, whereas in most there's only around 44 per cent. That higher percentage of fruit, with real lumps of fruit left in it, means you use less sugar as well, and it tastes a lot better. The sugar doesn't drown out the flavour of the fruit.''
Simon prefers to use mostly fresh fruit in season, which means he's just finished making fig jam and will have to wait a few months before his next batch of apricot. Each jar has a shelf life of two years.
Sydney is a wonderful place to be making jam, he believes, since there's so much fruit available throughout the year, there's such an emphasis on quality produce and there's a huge range of good bread on which to lather jam. When his mother visits from Britain twice a year, she leaves with 48 jars in her luggage.
The rest of the family, wife Kathy and 11-year-old son Joshua, tend to be an integral part of the business, too.
''They're both great tasters of the jam,'' Simon says. ''My son has got a good palate for a child; he's definitely growing up a foodie. His favourite is the blackberry jam …
''And my wife,'' he says, looking down at the red splashes on his white T-shirt and apron, ''is great with the bleach, too.''
There's not a day goes by without Simon road-testing his jam, either. His day starts at 2am at the bakery with a jam and peanut butter sandwich. Other jam sandwiches then feature as regulars for morning tea and lunch.
''I grew up as a child with marmalade, but I do love jam,'' he says. ''It'll never go out of fashion. We have so much great bread here and gourmet produce, and a good jam will always have a place. I think we all appreciate good jam in Sydney.''
Pick of favourite flavours
1. Five Berry Made up of blackcurrant, redcurrant, boysenberry, strawberry and blackberry.
2. Strawberry ''It's an old favourite,'' jam maker Paul Simon says. ''I think it reminds us all of childhood.''
3. Marmalade ''Many of us grew up with it on the breakfast table.''
4. Fig and lemon
According to customers of Jam Packed with Fruit.