BREAKFASTIN WITH CRAIG & RICH FROM SAINT JAMES

January 2, 2017

Saint James Cafe recently opened in Melbourne, bringing a sense of the Motherland (England) to Malvern. Craig and Rich are the Brits behind the venture, and they’ve shared a bit about their journey below. Introducing Craig and Rich x 

Side note: Phil Gijsbers (pictured on the right) is also involved in Saint James – you can read more about him here

1. Before we start talking about Saint James Cafe, can you please tell us a bit yourselves? Have you both always worked in hospitality?

Craig: I arrived in Melbourne 4 and a half years ago, 12 months after Rich, as a starting place to travel the world, and haven’t left since! I only got into hospitality as a useful tool to travel, but fell in love with my now wife, Andrea and the Melbourne breakfast culture and knew I could see a future here. We have a little girl, Isabella, who is fast becoming our top critic.

Rich: I originally moved to Australia in attempt to travel this beautiful country 5 1/2 years ago but on my arrival in Melbourne I fell in love with the place and struggled to move on. I have been in hospitality pretty much since I landed in Melbourne but in a different sector (bars/clubs). I moved to Windsor around 4 years ago which is when I started eating out pretty much everyday for breakfast and realised how much I loved the breakfast/brunch culture.

2. What made you guys want to open Saint James Cafe? Can you tell us a bit about the concept and what people can expect?

Craig: Saint James is a combination of our past and present. It’s all about using classic flavours and dishes we grew up with, served in a modern, Melbourne-cafe style.

Rich: Saint James is a reflection of our past and present! We have re-created some of our childhood favourites with a Melbourne twist.

Coffee has become an integral part of our lives which is why we take pride in the standard we deliver.

Craig Rich Saint James Cafe

Pulled Pork Eggs Bene

3. Has the cafe-creation experience been what you expected? Were there any challenges that you didn’t anticipate along the way?

Craig: It certainly has been a lot of hard work. Initially, we had a number of teething problems, particularly in the kitchen but with diligence and hard work as a team we’ve overcome it. Four months in, we feel like we are now on the right track to provide Melbourme with something great.

Rich: Opening Saint James has been a fantastic experience. The stresses that have accompanied opening have been worth it.

4. What advice would you give to other people looking to open a cafe, or to start their own business?

Craig: My advice would be to have a clear vision of what you want to do and who you want to be. In what’s becoming a very competitive market, you need to be sure of what you’re doing, and confident you can stand out from the rest. Having a good team behind you is also key, something we are lucky enough to have at Saint James.

Rich: My advice would be to knowing exactly what you are trying to achieve from the onset. Do your research on the area and demographic thoroughly and provide a great service.

Craig Rich Saint James Cafe

Rich in action at Saint James Cafe

Craig Rich Saint James Cafe

Strawberries and Cream Pikelets

5. Coffee is a big focus for you guys, with the instalment of the very cool Slayer Espresso Steam coffee machine being testament to your commitment to producing the finest brew. For people who aren’t familiar with the Slayer, how is it different to a standard coffee machine?

Craig: The Slayer Steam uses a dry vapour when steaming milk allowing less water in than conventional steam, essentially creating a sweeter, creamier milk. The digital Barista Dashboard allows much more control over shot volumes, brew temperatures and steam settings.

Rich: Couldn’t say it better (than what Craig said)!

6. And last, but definitely not least, what are your favourite items on the menu and why?

Craig: That’s a hard one because I’m really proud of all of our dishes. The black pudding really takes me home but if I had to choose, it would have to be the fish finger butty as it reminds me of my childhood.

Rich: My favourite dish would have to be the fish finger sarnie!! I’ve eaten countless of them growing up and now we have re-created it and made it better, I’ve eaten countless more!

Follow Saint James on Instagram at @saintjamescafe, and check out their website at www.saintjamescafe.com.au

Craig Rich Saint James Cafe

Black Pudding

Craig Rich Saint James Cafe

Fish Finger Sarnie

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