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During the Covid Pandemic we created the campaign, Turnip CheckIn where we checked-in with those in the hospitality, agriculture, sustainable & creative industries in a world of constant change, closures and challenges.

Turnip CheckIn: Prisca Daehn, baresop

Amenity waste; it’s a thing. We all chat about food waste in restaurants and cafes but what about amenity waste… Toilet paper, hand soaps, hand towels and/or dryers, do restaurant have access to  products that can help them cut down on amenity waste.

Baresop is a plant-based powder that, with the simple addition of water, makes a hand soap. It’s  delivered with a good looking bottle-to-keep in which to mix the foaming hand soap.

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Turnip CheckIn: Jenna Abbruzzese & Megan Griffey

Last year, saw Megan Griffey and chef Jenna Abbruzzese, business partners and owners of Hawthorn cafe Our Kitchenette, make the permanent change from a cafe to retail and ready-made meals, online and in-store.

The pair have stocked the shop with fresh meals prepared by Jenna as well as beautiful tableware and ceramics, selected by Megan. The change has been embraced by  their regulars and broader community and their catering arm is going strong, so we checked in to see how they’re going as they reopened this week to kick off 2021.

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Turnip CheckIn: Hannah Brennan

Scarf Community partners with restaurants and other hospitality businesses to run Scarf Dinners and provide meaningful training, mentoring and paid work experience to their participants who are from refugee and migrant backgrounds. 

So what happened in this – their 10th year – when those restaurants and business had to shut due to COVID lockdowns? 

We checked in with Scarf Co-founder, Hannah Brennan to see how she’s going. Things are looking up and  there’s some magnificent merch available for purchase  to help support this dynamic organisation, thanks to a collaboration with Melbourne-based Ethiopian artist, Olana Janfa.

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Turnip Checkin: Michael & Christian Dal Zotto

Michael and Christian Dal Zotto of Dal Zotto Wines in the King Valley are working through 2020 as best they can and slowly coming out the other side feeling strong.  The family-owned business and Australian Prosecco pioneers base the culture of their operation on their team and customers. So, while having to change the way they do business, they are also learning a helluva lot. One thing that hasn’t changed? Their people are everything. 

We checked in to see what’s happening.

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Turnip Checkin: Julian Hills

Julian Hills,  chef and owner of award-winning Navi Restaurant in Yarraville is looking forward to welcoming diners back into his  small  dining room in November. 

Like everyone, he’s had a hard year trying to find balance, support his staff and find other revenue streams, including Navi Bakery that sold out every  weekend it was operating. 

We checked in to see how he’s going. 

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Turnip CheckIn: Paul Cooper

Chef Paul Cooper is a doer. 

When restrictions set in earlier this year, the chef/owner of Bianchet Bistro and Providore in the Yarra Valley set about developing ideas he’d been considering for a while and he has established Yarra Valley Ketchup & Pies and Progress Food (a whole food meal business inspired by his own recovery after a bicycle accident six years ago). As  these both simmer away slowly, he’s also focussing on getting the Bistro and Providore back open to a hungry dining audience. 

We checked in to see how it’s all  going. 

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Turnip CheckIn: Andrew and Mary White

Andrew and Mary White have owned and operated much-loved CBD cafe, Cafe e  Torta in the Royal Arcade for 20 years (this year!) as well as tea house, Royal St Collins. 

As plans to celebrate the 20 birthday had to be postponed in light of COVID-19, the couple are remaining positive and hoping – cautiously – for a bright future and a CBD buzzing once more. 

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Turnip CheckIn: Tessa Brown & Jeremy Schmölzer

2020 has handed winemakers Tessa  Brown and Jeremy Schmölzer – of VIGNERONS SCHMÖLZER AND BROWN in Beechworth – an unusual combination of factors. 

They welcomed their second child – beautiful! – but the summer bushfires brought about the complete loss of their first significant crop from their own vineyard, and most of the other Beechworth and King Valley fruit they typically source. 

They were forced to secure a reduced harvest of parcels from other Victorian wine regions in early January. And then along came the cessation of on-premise sales due to the Covid-19 shutdowns in March. This benched probably 70% of their turnover and shifted our focus sharply to retail and website sales.

We thought we’d checkin to see how they’re going. 

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Turnip CheckIn: Karen Golding

As Mornington Peninsula is considered part of Melbourne Metro area, like us in the city, they’re only just seeing a little light at the end of the COVID tunnel.

We checked in with Karen Golding, who with her husband David (pictured), owns and operates the much-loved Red Hill Brewery. 

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Turnip CheckIn: Coskun Uysal

Coskun Uysal, chef and co-owner of award-winning restaurant Tulum in Balaclava has – like everyone in hospitality – had to question the intention and purpose of his business. It was bloody hard. He contemplated, and came up with a solution that’s working for him and his team, for now. But he does have plans to take Tulum back to its original focus when life and restrictions allow. 

Despite some health issues and a couple  of days in hospital, we checked in to see how he’s recovering. It’s all good, he’s readying himself for a positive future. 

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Turnip CheckIn: Paul Wilson

Chef Paul Wilson and his wife Bec, moved to the Mornington Peninsula from Melbourne in 2019 to work with the team at Morgan’s Sorrento. Then along came 2020… 

We checked in with Paul who is adapting his life and the business to this new world we all find ourselves in. 

Despite also having to deal with sad news from the UK – where he grew up – he finds there’s still a lot to look forward to. 

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Turnip CheckIn: Alejandro Saravia

Chef Alejandro Saravia, of Pastuso in Melbourne and UMA in Perth, planned to open his new venue, Farmers Daughters at 80 Collins St in early 2020…

We checked in with him to see what the plans are for the new venue and how he, his family and his teams are going.

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Turnip CheckIn: Johnny Vakalis

Johnny Vakalis has owned Journal Cafe on Flinders Lane for the last 16 years. Way before millennials were mashing their avo and feta onto artisan sourdough you could pop in there for some sliced avocado on toast with a wedge of lemon on the side. 

Johnny’s a well-known face of Melbourne CBD cafe scene and we checked in to see how he’s going and what he’s experiencing in the city going at the moment. It’s very hard. 

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Turnip CheckIn: Frank Camorra

We spoke with MoVida co-owner and chef Frank Camorra a few days ago and after the announcements today of extended lockdown and gradual easing of restrictions, this is as relevant as ever. The challenges do keep coming, stay well Melbourne. 

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Turnip CheckIn: Nathen Doyle

Carlton’s Heart Attack & Vine, the small cafe/winebar/place we love is part of the Turnip Media family. It’a a local for us.

We’re missing them and thought we’d check in to see how co-owner Nathen Doyle and his team are going.

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Turnip CheckIn: Matt Germanchis & Gemma Gange

Popular Anglesea restaurant, Captain Moonlite closed in early March. It turned out to be a positive for owners, Chef Matt Germanchis and Gemma Gange who put their focus in their takeaway business Fish by Moonlite. We checked in to see how they’re going and how their lives have changed, for the better.

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Turnip CheckIn: Guy Grossi

Chef Guy Grossi is a friend of Turnip Media. He and his family have poured so much energy and culture into Melbourne’s dining scene at Grossi Florentino, The Grill, The Cellar Bar, Ombra and Arlechin, we had to check in and see how he’s going and find out more about is delivery and takeaway business, Grossi a Casa. 

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Turnip CheckIn: Steve Flamsteed

Award-winning winemaker, Steve Flamsteed, head winemaker of Yarra Valley’s Giant Steps and his own label – Salo – has kept his team busy with pruning and replanting in anticipation of the next vintage. 

We checked in to chat about what he’s missing, what’s he enjoying and what he’s learned during COVID. 

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Turnip CheckIn: Oliver & Lisa Shorthouse

Vegetable farmers, Oliver and Lisa Shorthouse were hospitality professionals for years – Oliver was General Manager of Andrew McConnell’s restaurant group (now known as The Trader House Restaurants ) and Lisa was Andrew’s PA – before they moved to the Dandenong Ranges to establish Ramarro Farm. They grow a diverse range of fresh produce and the industry was the bulk of their business, until March, so we’ve checked in to see how they’re going.

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Turnip CheckIn: Vanessa Briody & Kate Kirkpatrick

Mass gatherings, events, festivals…what will they look like in a post-COVID-19 world? We chat to Vanessa Briody and Kate Kirkpatrick, Directors of award-winning annual Grampians Grape Escape to get a snapshot of what they’re managing, at the moment and into the future.

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Turnip CheckIn: Tracey Lister

Chef Tracey Lister opened Brunswick Kitchen in late 2019 with its core aim to be a cooking school.  All that changed with the pandemic, so we checked in to see what’s been happening in her world.

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Turnip CheckIn: Jodi Clarke

Greg and Jodi Clarke – of Great Ocean Ducks – farm free-range Aylesbury ducks on their 16-hectare property overlooking Port Campbell, near the Twelve Apostles and Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. They supplied many leading restaurants pre-COVID-19 and have had to shift their business model (yep, trying to avoid the word ‘pivot’ 😉 ) to keep selling their delicious duck meat. We checked in with Jodi to see how they’re going.

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Turnip CheckIn: Alex Wilcox

Ordering alcohol online has boomed during COVID-19 lockdowns but wine and drinks retailers thrive on tastings and getting people into their shops to talk booze.

We checked in with Alex Wilcox (pictured right with business partner Michael McNamara) – one half of Prince Wine Store – to see how they’re finding the balance of retail, online sales and their wine bar, Bellota.

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Turnip CheckIn: Patrick Walsh

Patrick Walsh, publican of Fitzroy’s Commercial Club Hotel since 2006, is leading his team and community during the Melbourne lockdown. Like all hospitality businesses, the popular pub has taken a hit but he’s got his team helping around the historic building (its original incarnation established in  the 1850’s) and is selling conversation-stopping sausage rolls every Friday.

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Turnip CheckIn: Melissa Brauer

Melissa Brauer – aka The Prosecco Queen – managed to hold her annual Prosecco Festival in February before lockdown happened in March.

She  has started online Prosecco classes (I can recommend them) and is launching a new delivery business, Oyster + Wine Co. We checked in to see how she’s going.

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Turnip CheckIn: Russell Shields

The Community Grocer operates ‘weekly affordable fresh food markets to support healthy connected communities’ across Melbourne.

With the Grocer’s profile and importance growing – especially during the pandemic – the group’s founder, Russell Shields (left), was instrumental in coordinating fresh food deliveries earlier this week to the towers in lockdown in inner-Melbourne.
We checked in to see how he and his team are going.

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Turnip CheckIn: Andrew Joy

We checked in with Andrew Joy (right in picture with business partner Travis Howe ), co-owner of Carlton Wine Room. He and his business partners made a swift decision to close their popular Drummond Street venue when lockdown first kicked in and stay on their own path.
They’ve reopened with a fresh perspective and Andrew has an even greater love for what he does.

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Turnip Checkin: Anther Gin

As a gin distiller who was – almost – only available through the hospo industry, Anther Gin lost most of their sales overnight when COVID-19 kicked in.

They didn’t let that stop them. They’ve opened their ‘forever home’ in Geelong and have diversified the way they get their gin into our hands (and it’s a bloody good gin ). We checked in Anther’s Founders, Sebastian Reaburn, Dervilla McGowan and their team.

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Turnip CheckIn: Johnathon Davey, Seafood Industry Victoria

Johnathon Davey is the Executive Director of Seafood Industry Victoria (SIV). The seafood industry was bitten by the COVID-19 restrictions early in 2020 when exports to China were cancelled overnight. We had a chat to him about where the industry has been and where he sees it going. The common message – ask for local seafood – enjoy it, cook it, eat it.

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Turnip Checkin: Kate Stewart

Entrepreneur Kate Stewart – formerly a co-founder of En Pointe Events – continues to move forward. Her experience during COVID-19 has significantly changed her working life and she’s loving it. We checked in to find out more.

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Turnip CheckIn: Almay Jordaan

Almay Jordaan, chef and co-owner of Fitzroy North’s Neighbourhood Wine and Old Palm Liquor in Brunswick East hasn’t stopped. Like so many other hospo businesses, she’s done the pivot, kept learning and is now getting ready to welcome diners from June 2. We thought we’d check in to see how she and her teams are doing. 

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Turnip CheckIn: Gilles Lapalus & Shaun Byrne

Gilles Lapalus and Shaun Byrne, the boys behind Maidenii Vermouth, ‘mothballed’ everything as soon as COVID-19 restrictions started to kick in. They stood back, cleaned out their library of botanicals and slowly developed a hand sanitiser (that smells beautiful). 

We checked in to see how they’re going.

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Turnip CheckIn: Jia-Yen Lee & Thi Le

While developing an addiction to the Khao Jee Pate served on weekends at Richmond’s Anchovy,  I also checked in with the restaurants owners, Jia-Yen Lee and chef Thi Le on how they’re planning their next steps.

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Turnip CheckIn: Angie Giannakodakis

Long a respected and hardworking figure in the Melbourne hospo world, Angie Giannakodakis
co-owner of Epocha in Carlton and Camberwell’s Elyros had a chat to us about where she and her teams are at, at the moment.

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We pay respect to their elders, past, present and emerging.


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