Usually, it’s our politicians who get hit with the tough questions, but last week the tables were turned by Councillors Fuller and Fitzpatrick who swung by Derailleur keen to know why I think it’s so important we teach young people about growing food. After answering their questions I realised that they were after solutions and ideas to include in Councils budget. So how about local food vouchers, interest-free loans for small plot farmers, and school gardens?
Here’s the second part to Growing Our Town. Is it too much to ask for a vibrant vegie patch as the entrance to Wangaratta and a Copenhagen style bike lane down either side of Rowan Street and Ovens Streets?
Those of you who know me understand that I am concerned about where our food will come from in the future. And will we actually have the food literacy to prepare and cook it if we do learn to grow it our selves. Don’t get me wrong our town can grow, but we have to get the basics right. So here’s a start.
Running a café, when I’m not rushing on my feet or wrestling coffee - I people watch. Mostly, I watch people watching phones. It’s rare a customer comes in and doesn’t keep their phone on their table within reach, take a call, or type away. Phones rule our lives. They’re tethered to us, and we fret when we leave home without them.
Have you heard of Community Food For All? It’s an initiative bringing together people concerned about our food - who’s growing it, who’s selling it, how it’s eaten and who can’t afford it. Here’s the low down on what’s happening and how you can be a part of food and the greening of Wangaratta.
Not long ago, a prominent local farmer told me that Byron Bay hipsters were behind our local farmers market and that this monthly event was disrupting the work of real farmers like him. If I hadn’t had my KeepCup lid on I’d have spilt almond milk double-half-caf-half-decaf cappuccino on my cardigan when I heard that one! So what is a hipster and are they really infiltrating Wangaratta?
I'm pretty happy that one of my articles has been published in The Age - Epicure in the Milk Crate section. Here it is in full for those who didn't get to read it. Let me know what you think about the concept of edible Sports Gardening in the comments below.
I have a barrow to push – and I hope that after reading this, you might too. As a cafe owner, I know too well that we need more chefs and hospitality professionals in our country. One way we can encourage and inspire each other plus the next generation of food professionals, is by considering gardening a sport!
Plastic is slowly coming off the menu thanks to some logic, ingenuity, and conversations with our suppliers, many of whom have responded with sustainable solutions. As you’ll read in this latest blog - now it’s your turn, and I’m challenging you to do three things:
Bring your reusable cup next time you’re in to buy a takeaway coffee.
Next time you buy a muffin or salad in a takeaway container, be sure to put the waste into the correct recycling bin.
Next time you pass the Council offices, pop in and ask them where the green waste bins are along Wangaratta’s streets (or email them). Much of our effort is lost if our compostable packaging ends up in the general waste bin.
As always, I’d love your feedback about this blog and your ideas about how we can all be more environmentally friendly!
Climate change, religion, cycling, politics, marriage equality, taxes, wage rates, recycling, local food, coffee temperature, refugees and asylum seekers, homelessness and pokies - those are some of the conversations that go on between customers and I. Talking is a big part of any job in hospitality.
You're welcome to just focus on your food and coffee next time you're in, or if you're keen you're most welcome to join me for a cafe conversation. And heck, if our conversation leads to a better outcome for the world and for our community, then that’s ace.
Hands up if you’re still buying your coffee in a takeaway cup? It’s been a year since the ABC’s War on Waste documentary took a close look at the impact of disposable coffee cups on the environment, and suffice to say that not much has much actually changed: most people are still buying their coffee in takeaway cups.
Yep, our takeaway cups are recyclable and compostable, but how many actually make it into the recycle bin? Where the heck are the public green waste bins? I don’t see them in the street. Is there one in your office? When you get home does your empty hit your recycle bin? Learn how you can win by switching to a reusable cup.
The good news is that as well as being better for the planet, using a reusable cup is also better for your bank balance. This is because most cafés, including Derailleur, offer a discount when you present your own cup.
Cafe Derailleur purchases local- where we can. Local production is where it will be at and we’ll all need to upskill for that future. I started ensuring I purchased local a couple of years after Derailleur opened. It was not my goal to purchase local when we started. We only planned on being a small neighbourhood espresso bar with some light snacks. Demand grew and so did our staff, our kitchen and our skills. Surely I can purchase local too. Where to start?
The world of coffee is full of passionante people that connect in many ways. Anna saw my post Turning to the Dark Side while creating some simple rules for travellers to Italy so they can understand and enjoy Italy's coffee and Cafe culture. Read her Guest Blog and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
So how do you create a new dish, Eric? It’s a commonly asked question, and although the process varies each time, I’ve seen a few dishes come and go so I’d like to let you in on the journey with our latest Café Derailleur addition- Sweet potato cakeswith peanut satay, chilli, lime, smashed avocado, English spinach and coconut bacon.
When bike riders visit our cafe we welcome them, because we know that cycling’s as healthy for the waistline as it is for our local economy. We also want them to be safe so we point out the best rides, roads and routes and highlight other cycle-friendly eating places. That's what I did with Jim Freeman and his friend when they dropped into Cafe Derailleur for lunch a few Fridays ago.
When was the last time you wrote a business plan and stuck to it? We've almost done it. When we opened Cafe Derailleur in 2010, we set the goal of building the business and exiting within five years - it has now been seven and we've just placed the cafe on the market. Plenty of blood, sweat and tears - and knitting and crochet - has gone into creating Derailleur.
You know I keep a close eye on what is going on in the coffee scene in Melbourne and around the world. Somethings interest me and others (deconstructed coffee for example) don't. I learnt about filter coffee last year when visiting our coffee roaster. Many of our customers over summer have been joining us on our filter coffee journey. Here's how we arrived at or starting point.
It’s occurred to me and to those many customers I've chatted to, that we don't really know those people who’ve put themselves up for election. Understanding the skills and knowledge each candidate offers is a good start. To do this, I’ve prepared a selection criteria. So, I hope candidates knock on my door and visit my cafe soon.
On the eve of Council elections I find myself reflecting on what the future holds for us here in Wangaratta and what the past has taught us. After a three-year sojourn, democracy is being returned to the Rural City of Wangaratta and we’ve a buffet of twenty candidates vying for seven positions. So what should be our selection criteria for the job of a Councillor?
Buying and reading The Age Good Food Guide as soon as it comes out is a tradition for me. It's an education too, professional development if you like. So seeing a little article by Richard Cornish on Cafe Derailleur was a huge surprise to me.
Wage rates have been in the spotlight all year. Starting with 7-Eleven then McDonalds, Coles and Woollies. Recently on the SBS Insight program Fair Work Fair Pay on 26th July 2016, wage rates again came to a head.
Just over a month ago we took another leap into the digital ether. We set up online ordering. Yes you can order a coffee or bite to eat online and pickup from Derailleur.You can find online ordering links on our webpage and facebook pages.