Cream of the Crop at The Age Good Food Month – Giveaway!

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November is The Age’s Good Food Month in Melbourne and one of the many events happening is the Cream of the Crop.

On Sunday, 23 November,  the Dairy Industry Association of Australia will be hosting the first ever Cream of the Crop, a dairy festival! For a mere $20 (kids under 12 are free) you will receive unlimited samples of cheese, ice-cream, yogurt, butter and other goodies on offer, as well as entry into dairy master classes throughout the day. Wine, beer and cheese platters will be available for sale.

Cream of the Crop, Sunday 23 November 11am till 5pm

Ormond Hall, 447 St Kilda Road, Melbourne (entry via Moubray Street)

Giveaway! Thanks to Dairy Industry Association of Australia I have 5 x double passes to give away for Cream of the Crop. To win just follow the instructions below. The winners will be randomly selected on Monday 17 November. Good luck!

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World Cup 2014 Festival of Football – Giveaway!

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The Festival of Football will be taking over the historic George Cinemas in the heart of St Kilda to screen every match of the 2014 World Cup across three huge cinema screens.

The Festival of Football will kick off with the first match between Brazil and Croatia at 6am on Friday 13 June and will run until the Final on Monday 14 July at 6am.

There are three levels of seating available:

• The Stadium – enjoy the game in theatre seats with a bar serving drinks throughout

• The Lawn – sit back and relax in lounges, bean bags and deck chairs

• The Super Box – rally your mates and do it in style with a private booth for ten and an all-inclusive food and drinks package

For the full schedule and to book tickets, visit: www.festivaloffootball.com.au.

Giveaway! Thanks to the Festival of Football I have 3 x double ‘Lawn’ passes to the first game between Brazil and Croatia on Friday 13 June at 6am.

To enter just leave a comment below and the winners will be drawn on Wednesday 11 June so you have time to set your alarm clocks. Good luck!

The winners are #2, #7 and #10! An email has been sent to you.

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The Age ‘Forever Curious’ for Good Food Month + Giveaway!

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 Sponsored by Nuffnang

During November Melburnians have been eating, drinking and getting outdoors for the inaugural The Age Good Food Month and last week a few lucky Epicure readers were treated to a very special lunch as part of The Age’s Forever Curious campaign.

Forever Curious is all about encouraging readers to uncover the stories that are just waiting to be discovered. There have been four Forever Curious activations to date (such as ‘Just Graffiti’ and ‘Just a Tailor‘) and the reward for those who have been curious about what’s under the surface have been some money-can’t-buy prizes and unique one-off experiences.

The latest Forever Curious experience (and last for the year) was titled ‘Just a Chef’.

To set the scene, in the Epicure section of The Age on Tuesday 19 November a clue was inserted after a Karen Martini recipe (Karen is a Melbourne chef who’s a regular contributor to Fairfax publications) “If you’re curious at heart, head to Pino’s at Prahran Market this Saturday at 9:30am and look out for the Forever Curious grocer. Mention you’re an Age reader, and you could be in for a lunchtime treat with me. Only a few spots available though! – Karen-“

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More information was provided on Thursday and Friday through The Age’s Facebook page and Twitter feed…and then I turned up on the bustling Saturday at Prahran Market where a chef in a ‘Forever Curious’ apron appeared to be selecting produce for his kitchen at Pino’s Fine Produce (Karen Martini’s preferred grocer for her work and home kitchen).

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People who chatted to the chef about the seeded clues were rewarded with a signed copy of Karen Martini’s newest cookbook ‘Everyday’, which contains food that Karen cooks most – for herself and her family – and the recipes that are requested time and time again.

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In addition, some lucky people who didn’t have plans for lunch that Saturday won a private dining experience with Karen Martini at her St Kilda restaurant, Mr Wolf. Just goes to show it pays to be ‘unplanned’ and spontaneous sometimes because you get to enjoy unexpected experiences!

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The lunch was a 4 hour affair, a bountiful meal of the greatest hits from the Mr Wolf kitchen and free flowing wine to get the conversation started amongst a dozen strangers.

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To start, some antipasti including brightly hued pickled vegetables, a ramekin of roasted peppers stuffed with goats cheese, cumin and crunchy walnuts, some classic crunchy calamari fritte with tartare and an artful pile of prosciutto flecked with mint, ricotta and smashed broad beans drizzled with balsamic and olive oil.

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Next up was a selection of some of Mr Wolf’s famous pizzas, all with a crispy thin base and topped with classic Italian ingredients – no barbecue chicken horrors here!

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That wasn’t even the main course – huge steaming plates of slow cooked Greek lamb shoulder arrived along with Karen’s take on ‘horta’ (Greek wild greens) tossed with barley, feta and herbs. That salad was one of my favourite dishes of the day.

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And to finish, a refreshingly light lemon zabaglione with a zing of fresh blood orange and a shard of dehydrated citrus.

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If that hasn’t made you jealous (or hungry) enough then watch this video of the ‘Just a Chef’, from the winners finding out their prize to a table full of happy strangers tucking into lunch.

Giveaway! Thanks to The Age’s Forever Curious campaign two people have the chance to win a $250 voucher to spend at Karen Martini’s restaurant, Mr Wolf and one person can win a copy of Karen Martini’s cookbook ‘Everyday’. 

  • To win one of the $250 vouchers, you need to use your own Twitter account to retweet this message by The Age (@theage) with the hashtag #forevercurious. You can enter multiple times with each retweet. The competition ends midnight Wednesday 11 December and the winner will be selected by random draw (Full terms and conditions).
  • To win a copy of Karen Martini’s cookbook ‘Everyday’ just comment below with your answer to What ingredient or dish are you most curious to learn about? (Full terms terms and conditions). Entries close midnight Wednesday 11 December and the most creative entry will be selected by myself and Nuffnang as the winner. Good luck!

 

HOT: Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda

HOT: Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda

The partnership of Remo Nicollini, restauranteur, and Lino Maglione, master pizza maker, have recently opened a new casual Italian eatery called Itali.co in St Kilda. The two previously owned award winning pizzerias +39 and one of my CBD pizza haunts Espressino, then moved away to build the original Itali.co in Sorrento and start Docklands favourite Non Solo Pasta.

I was invited to sample selected dishes from Itali.co‘s current and incoming Autumn menu and my meal highlighted that the kitchen of Itali.co does everything with care and consideration under head chef Piero Roldo, previously of South Yarra stalwart Da Noi and his Sardinian assistants.

HOT: Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda

HOT: Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda

While it’s time consuming, the pastas are made in house, even down to the squid ink used in the tagliolini which will be appearing in the new menu with a large shell of Moreton Bay bug and a generous melange snapper, calamari and prawns in a simple tomato sauce.

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The charcuterie and cheeses are mostly imported from Italy, all presented impressively as a decorative feature in a cold fridge.

HOT: Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda

The wine list is a mix of Australian and imported and bottles are similarly lined in a glass feature wall by the bar.

For entertainment value watch the pizza makers at work. Lino comes from a long line of Neapolitan pizza makers and his recipe is simple – a mix of Italian and Australian flour, very cold water, Italian salt.

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The bases are ‘opened’ on the Carrara marble bench with a few deft circles as the orders come reeling in – he doesn’t believe in lining up bases ready to go as it affects the taste and texture. Bases are smeared with homemade sugo of tomato, olive oil, salt before toppings are added. Simple.

HOT: Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda

The pizzas are then lifted off the bench onto an aluminium shovel with a sieve (so loose flour doesn’t burn in the oven or on the pizza base) and slid immediately into the mouth of an impressive piece of machinery – a $50,000 Marana pizza oven which combines the smokeyness and flavour of wood grill with the consistency of a gas oven. The oven has a unique rotating plate with air circulating through a honeycomb structure in the stone that allows a single pizza maker to perfectly cook up to 18 pizzas at a time in about 2 minutes!

HOT: Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda

The end result is quite amazing. A paper-thin base charred to a perfect crispness and with an impressive strength in holding the weight of toppings. Nothing slides off! Definitely one of the best pizza bases I’ve had in Melbourne and enhanced by quality of ingredients such as in the simple Regina Margherita – tomato, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and extra virgin Ligurian olive oil ($15).SONY DSC

The must-try pizza is the one recently crowned best pizza by The Age Good Food Under $30 guide. It’s called ‘Bunga Bunga’ ($18.50), so named after the nickname of notorious Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi because it contains Italian sausage! Add to that smoked scamorza, friarielli (Neapolitan broccoli) and a little bit of a pick-me-up in the form of the fresh chilli oil offered at every table and it’s a winner in my book too.

HOT: Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda

Of the non-pizza dishes highlights include the fat nuggets of seared scallop paired with large quenelles of creamy cauliflower ‘pannacotta’ and slow cooked boneless rack of rabbit filled with sun-dried tomatoes, olives and basil served with a surprisingly delicious flaky red cabbage strudel ($16.50), both from the starters section.

HOT: Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda

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If you’re not in the mood for pizza or want to pair it with other dishes then there’s a selection of meat and fish main courses as well. My recommendation goes to a very juicy piece of pan-fried crispy skinned barramundi served with a jumble of eggplant caponata and fleshy mussels.

HOT: Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda

For dessert the house specialty is the cassata ($11). It’s not the ice cream and glace fruit dessert I expect but the Sicilian version of the sweet, which is a combination of sponge, the freshest ricotta, fruit and nuts. Itali.co serves it with some strawberries and a cartoonish splash of dark chocolate fondue.

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The space can get noisy as the sound bounces from the black and white Escher pattern tiling to the stone floors and the ceramic table tops. If the weather’s balmy you can sup under the small terrace instead.

With excellent food at prices like these, I predict Itali.co will do extremely well. Andiamo!

Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly Street, St Kilda +61 3 9537 5300

5pm till late 7 days a week

Itali.Co on Urbanspoon

 

HOT: Baker D Chirico, 178 Faraday St, Carlton

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Happy Easter!

Every year my quest for Melbourne’s best hot cross buns starts the day after Shrove Tuesday. I don’t give anything up for Lent – instead I start eating a lot of fruit and spice bread products.

Rather than write a long-winded post about all the good, bad and ugly hot cross buns I’ve eaten (it’s been done before herehere and here), I’ll lead you straight to my #1 pick. And the Oscar goes to….Baker D Chirico.

Baker d Chirico

For me their buns have the right combination of lots of juicy moist fruit, a lightly spiced sourdough base and not too much sticky glaze on top. They’re not gluey or stodgy and are just as good eaten fresh (my preference) or toasted. They are on the expensive side being $3.20 each (or 6 for $18) but I think worth the extra couple of cents for the quality of the product.

Of course Baker D Chirico aren’t just notable for their hot cross buns. Every visit to St Kilda involved a buying frenzy at their tiny store and I raved about their products, packaging and service before in their city pop up store a few years ago.

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In 2011 a second shop finally opened northside in Carlton and I’m a semi-regular customer. It’s a beautiful place. The back wall displays snug loaves of bread among the ebbs and flows of curved plywood that creep up to the ceiling, creating an interior like a modern concert hall. The front counter echoes the linear design and groans with tiers of baked goodies to tempt the most ardent Atkins dieter.

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Baker D Chirico Faraday St Carlton

The staff are warm and welcoming, helping with prams and doors and parcels.

I recommend buying their pastries, glazed fruit buns and particularly the genius combination of pistachio and chocolate in a flaky croissant.

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And of course the sourdough bread shouldn’t be missed. Crusty, hand-shaped, not too sour.

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I make special trips at Easter for their hot cross buns and at Christmas for their best-in-show mince pies and preservative free, buttery and studded with fruit panettone (which I’ve transported as hand luggage interstate before, cos you know, you just can’t buy the same amazingness in Queensland!).

Baker D Chirico, 178 Faraday St, Carlton +61 3 93493445

Tue to Sat 7:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sun 8:00am – 5:00 pm

Baker D Chirico Carlton on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOT: Fly Me To the Moon, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Palais Theatre, St Kilda

The 2011 Melbourne International Jazz Festival kicked off at the glamorous Palais Theatre with an opening night of jazz standards reinterpreted by a group of not-your-usual jazz vocalists – Tex Perkins, Paris Wells, Eddie Perfect and Kimbra.

The four singers rotated two or three songs over two acts, accompanied by the impressively tight Sam Keevers Trio (Sam Keevers (piano), Brett Hirst (bass) and Simon Barker (drums)). Tex Perkins was his usual louche self and growled his way through an unexpected Burt Bacharach number (not sure when Burt became part of the jazz canon but happy to go along with it). Eddie Perfect upped the beat of Lullaby of Birdland, bopping and weaving through some highly syncopated rhythms.

After the show my friends and I agreed that the female vocalists were much stronger. When I saw and heard Paris Wells the words ‘a sassy broad and a dame’ came to mind – in a sexy slinky dress she bantered with the audience and her warm, gutsy soul voice was reminiscent of an on-the-mark Amy Winehouse. Finally, the performance which was really a revelation and still sticks in my mind was by Kimbra, a New Zealand musician based in Melbourne. She looked slight and delicate in her strapless froth of a ballgown, but captured my imagination with her chameleon vocals, moving from sweet to soaring, smoky to brilliant (amazingly, apparently she’s never been taught to sing). Her version of ‘Catch a Falling Star’, using a taped loop of her vocals to build a childlike, nursery-rhyme rhythm and texture, is still with me. I think the audience agreed with me, as they gave her long enthusiastic applause after each of her numbers.

The 2011 Melbourne International Jazz Festival is happening until 13 June, with something for everyone, from free concerts to kids’ activities.

To read an interview with the program director of the festival, Sophia Brous, click here.

HOT Chat: Chanie Stock of Genki

Melbourne loves its fashion and one of the most beloved labels of the city is Genki.

I first visited Genki‘s Cathedral Arcade shop when I arrived in Melbourne way back in 2003. I immediately fell in love with the tiny colourful shop and the adorable aesthetic of their clothing and accessories, especially their ‘I love….’ range of T-shirts (I still own a limited edition tee designed to commemorate the 2006 Commonwealth Games – ‘I love the Games’).

Fast forward to 2010 and I discovered that after a hiatus from the retail world, Genki was reopening with an online store. As I browsed through their collection I realised what was missing – ‘I love cycling’! So on a whim I contacted Chanie Stock, the owner of Genki, and suggested that she launch a cycling t-shirt….and when she did I would stock them in my online store selling stylish cycling accessories, CycleStyle.

So today’s HOT Chat is with Chanie, who’s not only one of my suppliers, she’s also worked in a big law firm like me, has a love of fashion, is a mother and is a delightful bundle of energy. Thanks Chanie!

Chanie, tell me a bit more about your background and how you came to start your store and label Genki?

I studied Arts/Law but my true love was always fashion. Even from a very young age I had a very clear aesthetic and dreamed of having my own label. My grandparents worked in the fashion industry so it must be in my blood, but unfortunately they sold the family business when I was just a baby. I got my first job at Portmans when I was only 14 and then continued working in retail all through school and uni and never tired of it.

I decided to leave my job as a lawyer after 2 years to pursue my dream to work in fashion and after a few years as a buyer, I decided to open Genki. Many people though I was crazy as there was nothing like it happening at the time and no one (except the first incarnation of Alice Euphemia) was in Flinders Lane. But I had such a clear vision for Genki – that it break away from traditional retail concepts and be something totally new. I wanted to create a space where it didn’t feel like you were shopping but more like visiting a friend.  When I discovered the Cathedral Arcade space I had butterflies in my belly, as I knew it was perfect and then with the amazing design by Six Degrees my dream became real.

I was inspired to sell all the things that I wanted to wear but couldn’t find locally (remember, this was 1998, well before online shopping). The original product mix was Japanese accessories, homewares and clothing, mixed with exclusive UK labels like YMC and US brands, Daryl K and Built by Wendy (which at the time were only available at Genki in Australia).   I also tested a few simple styles by the Genki home brand, which to my surprise really took off. So as time went by the Genki label developed into something very special with its own identity and great loyal following.

One of your most popular lines is the ‘I love…’ T-shirts. What’s the story behind how you came to develop that range and your collaboration with Beci Orpin?

This is a funny story which shows how even with a clear business plan things pop up along the way that you never expect.

I had a weird vintage t-shirt from when I was little that said ‘I love talking’ with the strangest illustration of a boy (like those oddball 70s tees that are NQR). At that time I had just started working with Beci, who I met through Misha Hollenbach (who designed the Genki logo and the graphics during the first year). The minute I met Beci I knew she was a kindred spirit. We instinctively understand each other’s language and working with her is effortless and always a joy.

So, back to the “I love..” t-shirts…. I went to Beci with the idea for an “I love talking” tee with a Genki character. It was an instant success. The rest just flowed from there. Soon they had a cult following and even now, 12 years later, people still love them.

Where do you turn to for design inspiration?

When I had the Genki shops, I used to get a lot of inspiration on my trips to Japan. It is a place that truly stimulates all the sense and is an aesthetic paradise. But it also gave me a break from the day to day so my mind would open up to new ideas.

Today I can’t travel as much as I did, but I find inspiration in the simplest of things. Food, nature, films, art, old magazines but mostly inspiring friends. There are some days when I wake up and feel fresh and clearheaded and I know something exciting will happen. I don’t want to get old, dull and boring so I need to keep learning and surrounding myself with innovative people.

You used to have very popular shops in the City and Windsor but now sell only online. What kind of challenges have you faced launching an online store?

Closing the city shop in 2009 was very difficult for me and while it was the right decision I still miss that part of my life. It was such a pleasure to go to work with fantastic staff and wonderful customers and do what I loved most. It wasn’t just about selling fabulous things. We laughed and chatted and built close friendships and a special community. My challenge with the online store is how to preserve some of that magic and create that warmth and familiarity in a virtual space.

It has taken some time, but since I turned the “Genki News” section into the “Genki Blog” so there has been a shift and I sense an online Genki community is forming.

What advice would you give to people wanting to start their own business?

The most important thing is really believing in what your business is about. Be it a product or a service, you must live and breathe it and know it inside out. Following on from that, it must be original and have your own fingerprint or flavour.

Assuming the passion and dedication is there the next step is good planning and discipline. A clear detailed business plan is essential and use the resources you have around you (for example if you have an accountant in the family or someone who has specialist skills). Never be afraid to ask for help.

What are your next plans for Genki?

I would like to develop the Genki Blog to touch on other aspects of life. Not just style, but food, hobbies and funny odd topics.

I will continue producing the “I love..” tees, the striped tees and the basic denim pieces as long as the demand is there. There have been many requests for our fleece hoodies and jumpers so I’m planning to bring them back for winter. My plan in the next 12-24 months is to reach new customers, especially the 18-25 year olds (the most popular age demographic back in the day).

Finally, what are your tips for HOT places you like in Melbourne?

Being a mother of three I don’t get out as much as I used to, but I do have a few special tips to share:

I adore De Clieu (187 Gertrude St, Fitzroy +61 3 9416 4661), Seven Seeds (114 Berkeley St, Carlton+61 3 9347 8664) and Brother Baba Budan (359 Little Bourke St Melbourne). The best coffee in the world and most excellent treats.

I still love Ciccolina (130 Acland St, St Kilda +61 3 9525 3333) for lunch or dinner and the new Ilona Staller (282 Carlisle St, St Kilda +61 3 is just fabulous.

Kappaya at the Abbotsford Convent (1 St Helier St, Abbotsford +61 3 9416 0070) is a haven for me. It’s so beautiful there and the food is fresh, pure, tasty and simple.

The Beatbox Kitchen and new Taco Van. Delicious great quality food with heart and a great soundtrack-too good!

The NGV (International and Australia) and other local gallery spaces in Melbourne. What a perfect weekend outing for the whole family. My kids love it as much as the grown ups and it reminds me how lucky we are to live in this wonderful city.

Portabello Bride Boutique Wedding Market giveaway

Happy Monday! What did you get up to on the weekend?

My weekend was full of weddings. On Sunday it was my one year wedding anniversary and RM and I had our first baby-free evening out, although we still had dinner at the parent-friendly hour of 6:30pm. Thank you Kat’s Cakes for our unexpectedly large one year anniversary cake too!

And in a nice turn of events, on Saturday we attended the wedding of a friend which was held in the same location as our own wedding a year before, the Portico Balcony of Melbourne Town Hall. Melbourne turned out a gorgeous sunny day, the bride and groom looked very happy and the father of the bride teared up. Oh I do love a good wedding :–)

So today’s giveaway is well-timed, as I reflect on my wedding and weddings in general. Portobello Bride is a website and blog that features wedding suppliers who are cool, unique and interesting rather than the frou frou and once a year they hold a boutique wedding market. While I have a fear of bridal expos generally, I know what it’s like to work full time, have a busy social life and still try and fit in wedding planning. The Portobello Bride Boutique Wedding Market contains a curated selection of 30 or so stallholders in one place who will hopefully provide you with some creative inspiration beyond the norm.

For brides (and grooms) to be out there, I have 5 free tickets for the market on Saturday 26 March 10am-5pm which is being held at St Kilda Town Hall (cnr Carlisle St and St Kilda Rd). All you have to do is leave a comment below and the first 5 responses will win. If you miss out you can still purchase tickets for Saturday or Sunday here or at the door. Good luck!

St Kilda Openair Cinema giveaway

Happy Valentines Day!

Nothing is more romantic than a movie under the stars, so today’s giveaway is perfect for all you lovebirds out there.

St Kilda Openair Cinema screens new release and classic movies on the rooftop of the iconic St Kilda sea baths. It’s a pretty special atmosphere as you watch the sun set and listen to the waves lap below you, then snuggle into your deck chair to enjoy the show.

I’m thrilled that St Kilda Openair Cinema are offering 5 free double passes for blog readers to see any movie remaining in the 2011 season, which ends on 26 February. The selection of films is pretty eclectic, from Gallic rom-com Heartbreaker, childhood favourite The Neverending Story to 80s classic Top Gun.

All you have to do is be one of the first 5 people to email shannon@australianopenair.com.au with the film you’d like to see. You’ll then be put on the guest list for that film and on the night simply check in at the door.

Good luck!

HOT Chat: Steve Chambers of CMUK Shoes

Happy Chinese New Year! At first glance today’s HOT Chat may not seem relevant for celebrating the Year of the Rabbit but traditional customs include getting new clothes, paying off all debts, cleaning the house, feasting with family and friends, giving out red envelopes…and getting new shoes.

This is where new Melbourne-based shoe store CMUK Shoes comes in, because coupled with the HOT Chat with CMUK Shoes founder Steve Chambers is a giveaway for readers to win a pair of shoes! Thanks Steve.

Steve, tell me a bit more about your background and how you came to start  CMUK Shoes?

I’m someone who has always enjoyed change – I’ve taught in Aboriginal schools in the Northern Territory, worked with compensation programs for Holocaust survivors throughout Eastern and Central Europe, spent time in Banda Aceh with re-construction projects following the tsunami and most recently worked as barrister in Melbourne.

A couple of years ago I went to a friend’s wedding in South America, was in awe of their beach culture and love of colours and thought it was time for another change! CMUK Shoes is a St Kilda based company that imports its own sneakers focusing on style, comfort, bright colours and cost efficiency.

What makes CMUK Shoes different from other designer sneakers on the market?

I firmly believe that cutting-edge style doesn’t have to come with a lead weight for a price tag, so our sneakers retail for under $50.  CMUK Shoes are very lightweight and comfortable, which makes them perfect for a day at the beach, a walk in the park, a stroll down the shops or out for a bite to eat or drink with friends. They also dry very quickly in the sun so customers having been buying them for boating or for non-running activities at the gym as they can also be machine washed on a cold cycle.

You may also have seen in the Herald Sun last weekend that Miss World and her runner up, Miss World Africa, called in to pick up some CMUKs (check out the picture)!

What do you enjoy about the world of retail versus working as a barrister? What advice would you give to people wanting to give up their day jobs to start their own business?

Retail has been a fantastic way to connect with people so as listen to their input, find out what they like and don’t like and what they would like to see next. It is also really enjoyable to go to work knowing you’re going to be running into smiling people most of the day, as opposed to people who come to see you due to often extremely stressful and often unpleasant circumstances occurring in their lives.

My advice to people wanting to start their own business is plan well, get a good mentor, do your homework and then roll the dice. Life is too short to be left wondering!

What has been the most challenging issue you’ve faced starting up  CMUK Shoes?

Establishing relationships with suppliers has been a taxing process but when you are putting all the pieces of the puzzle together it is integral to the success of a business such as ours. Luckily I enjoy working with people and negotiation comes with the territory.

What are your next plans for CMUK Shoes?

We are currently having a new website built and pushing hard with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to focus on our online presence. To not do so would be madness. We are working on new designs, colour ways and researching new materials that comply with the global organic textile standard for our next range, so what you can see now is only step one. Stay tuned.

Finally, what are your HOT tips for where to take your CMUK Shoes around Melbourne?

1. Jock’s Ice Cream (83 Victoria Avenue, Albert Park +61 3 9686 3838): the Hokey Pokey is unbeatable…
2. Newmarket Hotel (34 Inkerman St , St Kilda +61 3 9534 2385)… great for a beer after work if you can get in!
3. Mahjong (165 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda +61 3 9534 8833): nobody has a better yum cha trolley going around than Max on Sundays…
4. Prince of Wales (29 Fitzroy St, St Kilda +61 3 9536 1111): you can take your dog, sit in the sun and get view over the bay… sensational…
5. Claypots (213 Barkly Street, St Kilda +61 3 9534 1282): spaghetti marinara served for weekend lunch is mouthwatering… little tip though, always order for 3 even if there are only 2 of you! (it’s that good)…

Giveaway: Steve is kindly giving away three pairs of CMUK Shoes to three lucky blog readers! All you have to do is check out the photos from the CMUK Shoes website and write a comment picking your favourite style. Entries close 5pm Thursday 10 February and the winners will be drawn randomly and announced on Friday 11 February. Good luck!