What do you get when you combine the co-owner of Cibo, a famously excellent barista, a “gate to plate” food philosophy, and a relaxed light-filled space complete with resident DJ? The answer is Federal & Wolfe, which has just been recognised as Auckland’s Best Café in the Café Magazine Awards 2011.
Chelsey talks to Jeremy Turner to find out why this cafe is so good.
Congratulations on being voted Auckland’s Best Café 2011 in the Café Magazine Awards. That’s two awards this year, didn’t you win another award back in May this year?
Yes we won best café and barista at the Lewishams.
Not only are you the co-owner of Cibo but we’ve also heard that Federal & Wolfe are now open Saturdays 7am to 3pm as well as weekdays. How do you find the time to be so successful?
The team I build in all my all my businesses are built on the foundations of great staff. I feel a lot of Hospitality investors, be it hands on or not spend too much time on sourcing a site, concepts etc and not enough time or money in the people they get to run it. Federal and Wolfe would not have got off the ground unless Holly and Johnny had not taken the job.
Holly Shaw is the head chef at Federal & Wolfe, when did your partnership with her begin?
In 2006 one of our up and coming chefs at Cibo left to work in London, she came home and is now running Federal and Wolfe. It’s about fostering relationships.
What inspired you to open Federal & Wolfe?
Cibo’s fine dining experience is one that continues to challenge and excite me. I wanted to apply the same impeccable attention to service and food in another establishment, but this time with a casual café environment.
We love how you mention the names of all of your organic meat suppliers on the Federal & Wolfe menu, what inspired you to do this?
New York city, if they can pull it off miles away from pastures, so can we. It kind of just grew and we became better at sourcing the meats.
I have a love of eating food and knowing the origin makes it all that much better, the only two ingredients we don’t know 100% where itsfrom is garlic and ginger which is kind of funny.
We’ve heard of your famous Smoked Fish Kedgeree and the almost impossibly succulent Mackenzie Country Organic 7 Hour Lamb what’s another dish on the menu that’s a must to try?
Hungarian sausage, potato smash, sauteed greens, poached egg and hollandaise!!! I would challenge anyone to find a better sausage.
Have you always been in the hospitality industry?
Yes, I grew up in Sydney and in my last two years of school I was a part time pizza chef, that was the last time I cooked in a kitchen. I loved being on the floor and the kitchen is a real tough place to be, I give full respect to all chefs, they are a very tough breed.
What’s your favourite overseas restaurant?
Gramercy tavern in NY
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