I know I'm always raving about Cafe Inc. but it's with good reason - the food is amazing, especially for us food-allergy folk. It's been almost a year since Cafe Inc. opened in Rototuna, and things just keep getting better and better.
Yesterday I caught up with Matt Gatchell, owner and chef to talk about all things Cafe Inc ...
There have been some changes at Cafe Inc. over the last year, but Matt has kept true to his passion for real food in every possible way. The cabinets are still full to bursting with all manner of deliciousness, the blackboard menu is still brimming with opportunities to gorge on a range of noms, and the cafe still caters for everyone - including those of us with food allergies.
So what has changed? For one thing, there's a smoothie bar set up in the corner, offering a range of fruit and vege packed delights with names such as kale ale, pina colada and berry backflip (there's also a chocolate themed smoothie for those with a sweet tooth). There's been some additions to the menu (my fav has to be the hot chips, because seriously how hard is it to buy genuinely gluten-free chips in this town???), and the best news to date is that Cafe Inc. is now open for dinner four nights a week.
After a year cooking up a storm and running a busy cafe I asked Matt what keeps him motivated, and it seems like multi-tasking is really his thing "I try to get involved with everything. I get in the kitchen and cook, I'm out front, I go and talk to customers ..."
In fact his focus on his customers flows through everything he does. He still aims to cater for everybody, and says that he's constantly experimenting with food ideas to see what people will like. He also hires staff who are good with the customers "My staff are happy, they've always got a smile. I hire people on their personalities, you can always learn the other skills ..."
And speaking of learning, what has Matt learned this year? "I've learned EVERYTHING this year, as a chef and a business owner" says Matt, and it hasn't all been plain sailing either. Earlier in the year Matt was hospitalised after a hernia surgery went horribly wrong and was out of action for six weeks. Lucky for Matt, his partner Lisa is awesome at running the cafe, and was able to keep things running smoothly in his absence.
Earlier in the week a few of my friends tried out the new dinner menu at Cafe Inc (I was at home sick so had to eat vicariously through them). They raved about the yummy food and even took some photos for me (check them out below). The night menu offers a range of treats, again catering for everyone, including people with food allergies. I asked Matt what his favourite night-time nom was and it turns out he's pretty partial to both the beetroot ravioli and the sliders. Cafe Inc. at night is a chilled out place, tea lights are scattered on the table, wine is on offer, there's great food and there's a relaxed ambience, perfect for unwinding with friends.
The past 12 months have been hugely successful for Cafe Inc. I can't wait to see what they do next! Thanks Matt and Lisa for all the fantastic noms this year!
Want to go in the draw to win a $50 Cafe Inc. voucher?
If you're keen, you can also sign up to my newsletter here (it's not a requirement of the competition).
This competition is open to New Zealand residents only. Voucher can't be exchanged for cash. Voucher can only be used at times specified on the voucher.
Competition closes 7 December 2015 to go in the draw.