In 2011 the team at Café Culture realised that as we were growing so quickly, we needed a team of good people around us at our events that understood how we operated and networked with the industry.We put the word out that we needed a “Roadie”.
We have had our faithful original roadie, Matthew O’Brien, since the start of our business over 10 years ago, and we’ve now also been blessed with the one and only Leigh Carmichael and the bubbly Julie Anne Morman. This year’s Golden Bean in Port Macquarie shone a light on the perfect candidate for 2014 in Wendy McKinlay, a chef and commercial cookery teacher who volunteered to take on the challenge of serving 200 guests at the Awards dinner, as well as overseeing the catering at the Black Duck Brewery with Charlie Edwards. All of the Café Culture team were unanimous in voting Wendy in as our 2014 Roadie.
Wendy currently teaches commercial cookery at Port Macquarie TAFE and until recently also taught Hospitality to the HSC students at St Columba Anglican School, Port Macquarie. One of her hobbies is to assist others, helping friends out with catering. Wendy has worn many caps in the hospitality industry. Initially studying Nouvelle Cuisine, she has worked at many restaurants as Sous Chef and Restaurant Manager and was introduced to Gueridon Cookery, cookery at the table, during time at the Sails Resort in Port Macquarie. She has also participated as a culinary judge in many regional cookery competitions.
In the late ‘80s she began part-time teaching at Wyong TAFE, and this is where she found the inspiration for teaching.
Wendy says, “The diversity of cookery inspired me and when I commenced teaching in TAFE, I had the opportunity to share my passion for fine food and creative flair with dedicated and young budding apprentice chefs. Through the day I would manage a café and then cook at a restaurant at night and also teach at TAFE two nights a week; no rest for the wicked.”
Wendy spent three years at Orange TAFE and then transferred back to Port Macquarie in 1991, where she managing to squeeze in completing a uni degree, marry husband, Iain, and have two great children, Bianca and Beau.
“Being awarded Roadie of the Year was a surprise, as I just enjoy being a part of the energetic team at Café Culture, suitably behind the scenes ensuring that I am able to quietly contribute to ensuring things run seamlessly,” said Wendy.
Wendy has a love of Thai/Asian cuisines and also has a passion for chocolate and dessert work. In the future her wish is to travel more and be able to continue her passion with food. She says, “I have a strong desire to learn authentic Thai and Asian cuisines directly from the countries of origin and of course spend time in Melbourne at Savour Chocolate Cookery School in East Brunswick with the world champion chocolatier Kristen Timballes, to play with chocolate and let my creative abilities flourish”.