COMMISSION: BRYGG MAGAZINE - No Donation Necessary

Today my work was published in Brygg Magazine 

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WORDS Talor Browne

PHOTO Hayley Benoit

TIME September 24, 2016


In 2011, I saw Simon Griffiths sitting on a toilet with his pants down. Had you followed the right links, you could have seen it too. A grainy feed from a camera pointed at a bearded man wearing a dress suit, pants unbuckled to the ankles. He ended up sitting on that toilet for a whopping 52 hours.

It was all part of the clever marketing campaign used to launch Who Gives a Crap, a toilet paper company co-founded by Griffiths donating 50% of its profits to sanitation projects in developing countries through Water Aid. In those 52 hours, the team raised the $50,000 needed to launch, and now you can spot the fruits of his labour in any household or café in Melbourne, individually wrapped, colourful and iconic. The entire city is unknowingly supporting charity every time they use the bathroom.

Simon is a guy who makes things happen. We met at the communal table at the Melbourne café Seven Seeds, where he introduced himself with the kind of unabashed charm that only successful entrepreneurs manage to utilise so effortlessly. As we lined up to give our orders, he shared a taste of what he had achieved so far: Having spent the last 10 years in and out of developing nations, he had become acutely aware of how the majority is living without access to clean water and sanitation. When landing in South Africa, working on the ground with an ngo, he rapidly became disillusioned with the minor changes he was seeing through working only on a personal level. He felt like he needed to make a greater impact.

Simon’s solution was to usher in a new era of philanthropy, the kind that attempts to alter our perception of who a philanthropist can be. Instead of leaving the funding of important projects to a few wealthy individuals, the whole became the backer, through the purchase of daily staples such as toilet paper and beer. The idea was to let people facilitate change without ever having to ask for a donation. It was one of Melbourne’s first introductions to consumer driven philanthropy, and it was how Shebeen came to life.

 A SECOND KIN

It can be difficult to wade through the overwhelming choice of places to eat and drink in Melbourne. The cheap serving licenses, obsession with good coffee and creative undercurrent creates a perfect environment for hospitality to thrive in. Shebeen, whose name is derived from a South African word for speakeasy, has seen success by utilising the brilliant concept of improving something that was already happening on a daily basis: consumption. By harnessing the ethical bonus of the profits being donated on behalf of the consumer, simply being a patron at Shebeen and purchasing a beer, leave those who choose to drink there with the warm glow of philanthropy for a small price.

Around about the time Simon was sitting down to stand up for his beliefs, another entrepreneur was also just getting started.

Not unlike Griffiths, Jarrod Briffa experienced a transformative two years in India, not realising until later how his time there had an enormous impact on his values and perspective on poverty and consumerism.

It was back in 2009 Briffa first reached out to tell me about an ambitious project hoping to combine social change and delicious coffee. I remember holding my reservations until he walked me through a tall wooden door just off one of the main streets in Melbourne’s commercial business district. The hum of the city fell away and I almost turned breathless seeing the space. The amount of work needed was extensive, but the opportunities were endless. His idea was simple: “Someone getting off a train at 7am in the morning is not thinking how they can be more charitable – but they are thinking about coffee. Kinfolk has the ability to leverage everyday consumer needs, like coffee, to create value for the disadvantaged in our communities”.

Jarrod knuckled down, and from that day onwards, with only a lean start up of $10,000 and a significant amount of volunteer time from some key players, the first hurdles were cleared without ever looking back.

From the beginning, Kinfolk’s goal has been to create a community that could utilise business as a force for change. It began with their model of conscious consumption – asking questions about where things come from, and it continued with an inclusive volunteer program supporting disadvantaged people.

The volunteer program’s inclusive nature seeks to break down societal barriers and provide an opportunity for people to contribute, whilst gaining confidence and skills. The open door policy means people are not tokenised for their situation, health or past, and it provides individuals with a chance to escape labels that may be holding them back. Customers can then participate by voting where they want their money to be donated.

A NEW BACKBONE

The Kinfolk model has been so successful that during 2015, they saw the participation of a 100 volunteers and were consequently able to donate over $56,000 to some important Australian charities, like The Cathy Freeman Foundation and Urban Seed.

As Kinfolk has evolved over the years, Briffa has come to realise that their focus is beginning to shift. Whilst the money made and donated will continue to be a significant feature, it is the relationships built and the direct impact Kinfolk has on the lives of its volunteers that has become the backbone of the business.

So much so, that their they are now looking for a second site where they hope to expand into a production kitchen, to extend their abilities to bring people together and create opportunities for those who might otherwise not have them.

Jarrod was aware of the astute nature of Melbourne diners from the get go. Understanding that regardless of the ethos of the place, people will choose to spend their hard earned cash elsewhere if they don’t find what they are looking for. Communicating this to his team, they have been completely on top of it, funding 99% of the business with revenue from trade – demonstrating a pretty extraordinary example of a successful social enterprise.

Briffa believes that social enterprise is the only real way to fund projects struggling to appeal to big money and traditional charity, such as community health and drug rehabilitation. These issues are extremely difficult to address through commerce, and in his opinion, “We need more collaboration between charities, social enterprises and businesses to develop creative responses to the challenges our societies face.”

In an increasingly competitive market with a highly skilled labour force and a savvy bunch of consumers, it’s nice to know there are entrepreneurs facilitating more than just the growth of industry. Businesses like Shebeen and Kinfolk are enabling global change on a local level, one drink at a time.


FOOD - COMMISSION: Broadsheet Melbourne, Plug Nickel Opens in the North

Today my work was published on Broadsheet

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Photography Hayley Benoit 

WORDS BY NICK CONNELLAN 07th June 2016


Can this cafe-saturated area handle another player?


Pretty soon, there won’t be any houses or apartments left in Collingwood. Just street after street of coffee shops. Tour the two blocks bound by Smith, Wellington, Stanley and Langridge Streets. You’ll find Proud MaryAunty Peg’sTwo BirdsSouth of JohnstonMina-no-ie and Mr Peel Cafe.

You need a certain level of confidence to enter this crowded arena. The six partners at Plug Nickel have it. “We want to take things to the next level here,” says co-owner Pete Walsh. “We want a specialty coffee bar that sets a new standard for Melbourne.” That’s a tough ask in a city already seen as a world leader, in large part thanks to Small BatchSeven Seeds and other world-class roasters.

Plug Nickel bypassed all of them and went to … Canberra. Our fine capital is home to Ona Coffee, a roasting company owned by Sasa Sestic, the 2015 World Barista Champion. Walsh grew up in Canberra and signed on as Sestic’s second-ever wholesale customer almost a decade ago. When he moved down to Melbourne and started Dr Morse, with Anth Daniel and Jon Costelloe (also co-owners at Plug Nickel), the relationship held. Dr Morse and Plug Nickel remain Ona’s sole accounts in Melbourne.

In line with doing things differently, Plug Nickel doesn’t use the ubiquitous La Marzocco brand espresso machine, or even the equally respected Slayer or Synesso. Sestic made sure it was the Sanremo Opera, a machine he and several other World Champion baristas helped design. It’s packed with technology, such as built-in scales for consistent extractions, and a Bluetooth-enabled tablet for adjusting every conceivable parameter.

Behind the machine, co-owners and veteran baristas Chris Graham and Lucien Kolff blend seasonal beans with milk from cows, macadamias, cashews or almonds. There’s also batch brew, cold brew and frothy nitrogen-charged coffee on tap. Cascara is a cold tea made from coffee cherries – it’s also on tap. Most orders are passed out the window onto the street.

The menu, by sixth partner Tyler Preston (Dr Morse), is all about food you can fit in your hands: breakfast roti, noodle salads, house-made sausage rolls, daily soups and pies.

Inside there’s just a few stools and high benches. In the next room, DJ Ginger Light is cutting and dyeing as Ginger Hair. Cycling-wares company Northside Wheelerswill soon move into the last room and use it as a shop. If it doesn’t get turned into another cafe first, that is.

Plug Nickel 
7 Peel Street, Collingwood 
(03) 8415 1425

Hours 
Mon to Fri 7am–4pm 
Sat 8am–4pm 
Sun 9am–4pm 

plugnickel.com.au


FOOD - COMMISSION: This Cafe Is Essentially Real-Life Clickbait

Today my work was published on Broadsheet

Photography: Hayley Benoit

WORDS BY TIM GREY 06th June 2016


We’ve been hurtling towards this moment for some time.

To paraphrase Catalan theorist Joan Fontcuberta: “I ’gram, therefore I am.” Nary a meal is eaten in this town without first being hovered over with an iPhone 6. It’s a maxim cafe entrepreneur Ben Luo was keenly aware of when designing the menu for his new venue on Hardware Lane, White Mojo. “It’s very, very important,” says Luo. “The target customer is a pretty young age, and everyone’s got Instagram. It’s pretty much the best way to let people know about us and what we’re doing.”

This guiding principle of ’grammability informs every dish. The “croissant burger”, stuffed with deep-fried soft-shell crab, pickled cucumber, spicy mayo, smoked eel and fried eggs, provokes that immediate WTF response essential for going viral (figuratively, not literally). A cauliflower panna cotta with chorizo dust, Canadian scallops, 63-degree eggs and potato popcorn is served under a bell jar, billowing smoke over diners once the cover is removed. “They can open it themselves, they can record it, they can share it with a friend, Snapchat,” explains Luo.

Likewise, White Mojo’s Hulk-green matcha lattes are very much of their moment. Sourced from Uji in Japan, the powdered tea is ground on a traditional stone mill. “The matcha we get is very different to what most other people are using in Melbourne; it’s pretty much the best grade we can find,” says Luo.

Being less inherently visual and, ultimately, brown, the coffee situation’s more suited to a Twitter update: “House-roasted Sumatran coffee beans, 75 per cent natural, 25 per cent washed, make so-called Single Origin Blend @whitemojocafe.”

Design-wise, White Mojo is the bright ying to its sister-cafe Hash Specialty Coffee’s dark yang, with marble tables, honeycomb tiles and honey-blond wood.

So successful has the White Mojo playbook been that after only six weeks in business, the cafe’s already opened a second outlet in Balwyn, with a similar menu and fit-out. “It’s where I live, and I find there’s not that much food and coffee,” says Luo. “So we tried to offer the locals something really different.”

White Mojo 
115 Hardware Street, Melbourne
182–184 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn 
(03) 9078 8119

Hours 
Mon to Fri 7am–4.00pm 
Sat to Sun 8.00am–5.00pm

facebook.com/WhiteMojocafe





COMMISSION: Editorial - Brygg Magazine - Coffee Story

Today my work was published in Brygg Magazine 

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WORDS Lene Haugerud

PHOTO Hayley Benoit

TIME December 6, 2015

Verdens Beste Kaffeby?

I Melbourne får du en god kopp kaffe på hvert eneste gatehjørne, byen har en lang og stolt espressokultur. De siste par årene har også håndbrygg kommet for fullt.

I disse dager er det lett å få tak i god kaffe nesten uansett hvor man drar, du må kanskje planlegge eller gå deg litt vill, men den som leter vil finne. Det som gjør Melbourne unik er at de gode kafeene finnes absolutt overalt. Det har nesten blitt en umulig oppgave å få servert dårlig kaffe i Australias nest største by, og det er også derfor Melbourne kan meske seg med den uoffisielle tittelen: verdens beste kaffeby.

Ja, du kan kanskje finne en bedre kopp andre steder, men du kan neppe finne en by med et like stort utvalg av kvalitetskaffe i hver eneste bydel. En uke er ikke nok til å drikke seg gjennom alle kaffebarene man ønsker å besøke, og du blir fort overrasket over kvaliteten på kafeer som ikke er en del av det tradisjonelle spesialkaffemiljøet. I Melbourne må man rett og slett legge bort noen av sine kaffefordommer.

Få steder står brunsjkulturen så sterkt som her. De aller fleste kaffebarer tilbyr også en appetittvekkende matmeny bestående av avokadotoast, posjerte egg så langt øyet kan se, surdeigsbrød og hjemmelaget granola. Og ricottapannekaker, selvfølgelig. Gjerne med ferske bær, eller rabarbrakompott.

I Melbourne er det like naturlig at gode brunsjkafeer tar kaffe seriøst, som at kaffebrennerier tar brunsj seriøst. Proud Mary er en brunsjinstitusjon i bydelen Collingwood, de brenner sine egne bønner, og tilbyr en rekke håndbrygg, i tillegg til mat. Auction Room drives av brenneriet Small Batch, hvor du nå finner tidligere Tim Wendelboe-ansatt Tim Varney, og her er brunsjen overraskende halve moroa.

Mens brunsj i New York fort kan bli en våt affære, med brunsjcocktails og bottomless mimoas, så handler brunsj i Melbourne om god kaffe og enda bedre mat. Med lokale, ferske råvarer året rundt, finnes det ikke dvaske tomater, eller hard avokado å oppdrive på en eneste tallerken.

Australia har blitt verdenskjent for sin signaturkaffedrikk, en flat white. Filterkaffe har lenge vært forbundet med dårlig amerikansk dinerkaffe, men håndbrygg har begynt å få et sterkere fotfeste de siste par årene. Mange steder har egne bryggebarer for håndbrygg, og aller best er kanskje Dukes Coffee Roasters og Filter, men det er vanskelig å dømme et sted på bakgrunn av ett dårlig håndbrygg – da en barista kan ha hatt en dårlig dag, eller vært uforsiktig i et lite øyeblikk. Et håndbrygg er lettere å ødelegge enn å perfeksjonere. Cappuccinoen i Australia er også en saga i seg selv, da et tynt lag med kakaopulver avslutter drikken, helt uten at det blir for søtt, men runder av melkeskummet på en elegant måte.

Om Melbourne er verdens beste kaffeby? Det er vanskelig å svare på, men det enorme utvalget av gode kaffeopplevelser er nok til å gjøre en hvilken som helst kaffeby misunnelig.

ALITUS

På Altius finner du kanskje Melbournes søteste kaffepar. Hanna Alderton og Jarred Pageot startet den bittelille kaffebaren i oktober i fjor – men  de har allerede rukket å finne formen. Paret brenner ikke sin egen kaffe, men kverner kaffebønner fra steder som Small Batch og Market Lane. Både espresso og V60 står på menyen. Hannah og Jarred har gjort det meste ut av de få kvadratmeterne, og byr på et elegant lokale bestående av minimalistiske veggfliser, en innbydende kaffedisk, et lite trebord med friske blomster og plass til fire gjester, samt et åpent vindu ut mot Flinders Lane. Som relativt nyåpnet finner Altius fortsatt sin plass i Melbournes kaffejungel, og kundegruppen består av både forretningsfolk som jobber i området og kaffefolk som har tatt turen ens ærend.

517 Flinders Lane

DUKES COFFEE ROASTERS

Du finner Dukes Coffee Roasters i en av Melbournes mest sjarmerende gater, litt for turistifisert vil noen si, men turistifisert på akkurat den riktige måten. Av Flinders Lane finner du en rekke trange, små alléer fylt med sjarmerende kafeer og spisesteder, samt arkader proppet til randen med spennende butikker. Litt gammeldags, mye sjarm, og en god dose nostalgi for en svunnen tid. Kun et steinkast unna ligger Dukes, kaffebaren som også er et kaffebrenneri. Kaffebønnene kommer til sin rett i en spesialbygget bryggebar, kaffen serveres i glass fra Japan og i spesialdesignet keramikk fra en lokal designer. Lokalet er minimalistisk på en måte som passer omgivelsen godt, med innslag av lyst treverk og mønstrede gulvfliser. Det aller beste er kanskje den lange bardisken hvor du kan sitte å se på baristaen brygge en v60, mens han (eller hun) forteller deg om kaffen og hvor den kommer fra. En intim kaffeopplevelse i et sjarmerende område.

247 Flinders Lane

EVERYDAY COFFEE

Hvis du spør en lokal melbourner om kaffetips, er sjansen stor for at de vil svare Everyday Coffee. Denne kaffebaren er både en nabolagsfavoritt, og en destinasjon for kaffekjennere. På menyen står et rullerende utvalg av kaffebønner fra byens beste kaffebrennerier, sorte espressodrikker brygges som regel på Seven Seeds Espresso, mens hvite espressodrikker lages av Small Batch Candyman. Det er også dryppkaffe å få, både filter og V60. Kaffen serveres i spesialdesignede kaffekrus med kaffebarens egen logo, du får også kjøpt med deg kaffekruset hjem, sammen med et godt utvalg av kaffeutstyr. Everyday Coffee er et bra sted for å drikke kaffe, men kanskje et enda bedre sted for å se og bli sett – kaffebaren ligger i den hippe bydelen Collingwood, på grensen til det ultrahippe Fitzroy.

33 Johnston Street

FILTER BY SMALL BATCH

Sammen med Auction Rooms er dette en av Small Batchs to kafeer i Melbourne, men i motsetning til Auction Rooms er dette en rendyrket kaffelab med egne seksjoner for espressokaffe og håndbrygg. Håndbrygget, spør gjerne om en geisha, serveres i delikate glasskarafler med felthåndtak, og i små minimalistiske porselenkopper. Store vinduer åpner ut mot en travel sentrumsgate, og her kommer det mange forretningsfolk innom før jobb. Filter har også en egen liten avdeling med kaker. Det lyse treverket mot det industrielle gråfargede gulvet, og de store lyse vinduene, gir Filter et moderne skandinavisk preg. Her er ingenting overlatt til tilfeldighetene, men planlagt ned til siste detalj. Baristaene stopper gjerne for en liten prat, men lar deg også være alene om du ønsker det.

555 Collins Street

MARKET LANE

Market Lane er nesten et imperium i Melbourne med sine fem avdelinger. Den hyggeligste finner du kanskje i Therry Street kun et stråkast unna Queen Victoria Market – byens største matmarked. På Therry Street møter du imøtekommende baristaer i Market Lanes karakteristiske blå forklær, du møter hvite, minimalistiske lokaler og du møter stjernen i rommet – en Synesso espressomaskin. Hipstere sitter lettere henslengt i vinduet, eller på trebenker som er plassert opp i mot de sparsomme veggene, mens en enkel krittmeny henger på veggen. Market Lane tilbyr også håndbrygg på egenbrente bønner – men en espressobasert kaffedrikk er nok veien å gå her.

109/111 Therry Street

PATRICIA COFFEE BREWERS

Midt i hjertet av Melbournes businessdistrikt finner du Patricia, et lite lokale med noen få melkekasser som sitteplasser på gaten utenfor. Inne summer det av stemmer og kaffemaskiner, utenfor summer det av mennesker og byliv. Her kommer finansnæringen for sin første eller tredje daglige koffeinfiks på vei til et viktig møte, men her kommer også kaffekjennerne som har tatt veien for kaffen alene. V60 brygges til perfeksjon, melkeskummet på en cappuccino er akkurat så fløyelsmykt det skal være, baristaer smiler i spesialdesignende lærforklær. Patricia har noe genuint over seg, og stedet snakker i mange toneleier, det er kanskje ikke rart at Tim Varney kaller stedet hans favorittsted i hele verden?

493-495 Little Bourke Street


COMMISSION: Broadsheet Melbourne - Editorial - Portraits - Summer Shorts

Published on 19 November 2015

WORDS by EMILY NAISMITHSHARE

Summer Shorts - Broadsheet Melbourne

Summer always feels too short. We ask three up-and-coming Melbourne women how they’ll make the most of their summer, in partnership with Nobody Denim.

Sometimes it feels like you’ve just mastered the pineapple mojito and inflated your backyard pool when pineapples go out of season and your pool fills with rain. Not this year! We asked some of our favourite women, three people, who are sure to be icons, to tell us in five words or less what makes their summer. Their answers are short, but act on their inspiration and your summer will stretch on for ages.


Savannah Anand-Sobti

Savannah Anand-Sobti is the creative director of Ladies of Leisure, a zine about young and creative women by young and creative women. Ladies of Leisure recently ran a workshop series featuring topics such as “friend speed dating” and “superstar emails for writing and everyday life”.

Where’s your number one daytime summer spot?
The courtyard at Monty’s

Where’s your number one nighttime summer spot?
The balconies at Cookie

Where do you go to be inspired over summer?
Hangs with my LOL babes

What’s your iconic summer song?
Just a Girl – No Doubt

What’s your iconic summer drink?
Americano

What’s your iconic summer meal?
Watermelon eaten with a spoon

Who is your summer style icon?
Confident babes on the street

Which iconic Melbourne place is your favourite?
Edinburgh Gardens and Carlton Gardens

Describe your ideal iconic summer day.
Road trip down the coast

What inspires you in summer?
Sunshine and everyone’s blissful attitude

What are your summer plans?
NYC, Sri Lanka, adventures


Al Parkinson

The soulful ukulele-laced songs of Al Parkinson will hit you right in your feelings. She’s planning to record an EP in the converted church she just moved into.

Where’s your number one daytime summer spot?
Nothing beats the beach. Ever.

Where’s your number one nighttime summer spot?
Basketball court with my boyf

Where do you go to be inspired over summer?
The city with headphones, people-watching.

What’s your iconic summer song?
Smokestack Lightnin’ by Howlin’ Wolf

What’s your iconic summer drink?
Gin and tonic

What’s your iconic summer meal?
Golden Gaytimes or Paddle Pops

Who is your summer style icon?
Larry Emdur. His Instagram = BEST

Which iconic Melbourne place is your favourite?
The Palais or the Forum

Describe your ideal iconic summer day.
Tunes, salt water & gin.

What inspires you in summer?
The smell. Summer smells good.

What are your summer plans?
Sing, sweat, dance and laugh


Majda Rahmanovic

After running café and design space Twenty and Six Espresso for over three years, Majda Rahmanovic is about to open new restaurant Host. As an interior designer working alongside her graphic designer husband, we know her new dining space in a Brunswick warehouse will be a work of art.

Where’s your number one daytime summer spot?
Green Park

Where’s your number one nighttime summer spot?
Heartattack and Vine

Where do you go to be inspired over summer?
Anywhere quiet and calm

What’s your iconic summer song?
Salad Days – Mac DeMarco

What’s your iconic summer drink?
Aperol spritz

What’s your iconic summer meal?
Too much ceviche

Who is your summer style icon?
My much more fashionable friends

Which iconic Melbourne place is your favourite?
Royal Exhibition Building and Gardens

Describe your ideal iconic summer day.
Road trip to the country

What inspires you in summer?
Alcohol

What are your summer plans?
Opening Host – can’t wait!

In partnership with Nobody Denim.



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