Last night Lauren, I and several of the cafe's team went to an event in town. We hit Derailleur afterwards for food, wine, coffee and a lively discussion about Wangaratta's vibrant cafe and restaurant scene.
There's a lot of talent in town; some fabulous operators serving up quality food and local produce. Staff, suppliers and customers are the ones who give our town's restaurant scene its buzz and should be recognised. We business owners are rewarded. We get to live our dreams, take home a profit and maybe even sell our businesses one day. That's our reward.
When Lauren and I opened the business five years ago, we never imagined how well it would be going now. Our idea of a cosy espresso bar has developed into a little café with a big personality.
Derailleur couldn’t exist without you, our customers. You create the atmosphere, energy and culture that make Derailleur a home away from home. Thank you for your support.
There might be a few secret recipes in the kitchen, but there's nothing magical about our success. It's not a fluke that Derailleur's become popular and profitable. There's been a lot of hard work by a committed team. Recognising and thanking them is important.
To Derailleur's past and present staff who've made the dream come alive, thank you.
I want to recognise the fresh house-made food that our chefs' create in our little kitchen (ask me about the response our food gets from some of our customers - food porn, that's all I'll say!) It's important I also champion the quality coffee crafted by our talented baristas.
To Tim Reaburn, the skilled sous chef who leads my kitchen and ensures a consistent quality of dishes each day, please know you're appreciated. To Brad Stockdale, my third year apprentice – your continued enthusiasm is amazing.
To sous chef Ray Cabigquez - I know I'm lucky to have someone with your experience and passion on-board. Chef Richard Verrocchio, you have an amazing knowledge of food and flavours – I love it when you put something together for my lunch... especially the triple pork toastie!
Front of house talent Chris McGorlick – everything just ticks along with you there. Morgan Bennett who supervises the evenings and Sunday's in the café - thanks for stepping up and growing in my business.
It'd be hard to find a more organised and dedicated casual supervisor than Nat Newton, her taste for coffee is extraordinary (I even think she could tell which farm the milk came from!) To Guy Williams who's been pulling coffees five days a week for the last two years - you bring calm to the chaos.
To my causal staff Michelle, Rosie, Katrina, Harrison, Stephen, Izzy and Izzy (yep we have two now), Peyton, Ed, Joelle, Lucy and Breanna: thanks for being the welcoming face of my business. Your flexibility in filling the gaps makes rostering easy. Thanks also for working when your friends and families are relaxing or playing.
I'll have to write a whole other blog to do Derailleur's suppliers justice. These firms deliver the staple ingredients we need to produce the unique food that makes Derailleur. For now, thanks to Wangaratta Wholefoods, Burgan Bros, The Food Shed, Nufruit, Warby Street Butchers, Your Everyday Gourmet, Fletchers Supplies and Coffee Supreme.
More and more we source local produce. It's harder to do this, but we think it's important to support and encourage local farmers. Thanks to Carolyn for your avocados and cherries, Raffaella Sampson for your Terra Nostra olive oil, EV Olives, Peter Ross for your tomatoes, Sally and Jeff for your oranges and lemons, Tracey for your beans and cucumbers and Paris for your broad beans (and one day your garlic). Without the Wangaratta Farmers Market I would not have met these producers, so thanks a bunch! Lastly, thanks Pete from Stanley's Europa Gully Orchards for them apples. We look forward to buying these again once your crop has recovered from the recent hailstorm.
In this game you need to be as passionate about business as you are food. There are a few people behind the scenes I regularly draw from. Bernard Young and Bec Lanham for their business consulting skills, Lyn Fisher my bookkeeper and Tammy Atkins my social media hero.
Of course there are some special people who make my world go round. Thank you to my gorgeous daughter Ruby who understands the hours I keep and leaves food in the fridge at night labelled 'for my dad who works so hard'.
Thank you to my beautiful vivacious wife Lauren who is, thankfully, my biggest fan and ‘gets’ the sacrifices hospitality businesses demand.
It feels good to say thanks.