Deakin & Me

Deakin & Me Veneziano

Just as chef Zachary Calway was preparing to move overseas for a new work opportunity, a phone call from his former boss, Wally Rao, changed the course of his life.

“Wally mentioned he was thinking of opening a new café in Canberra, and that he wanted me to be his business partner,” says Zachary.

“I’m a Canberra boy, but I’ve never owned or ran my own business before. I’ve always had a lot of respect for Wally, he’s known as a bit of a café mogul here, and we work well together.”

Deakin & Me opened in June 2022, named after the union the duo hoped to establish between the café and the suburb.

“We wanted to create a sense of community, and we thought the name Deakin & Me really signified this,” says Zachary. “I think it’s got a bit of a ring to it.”

He says the café has proven to be a worthwhile investment, but it took a little time for him to learn the ways of a daytime eatery.

“When Wally first approached me with the idea, I had never made a coffee in my life,” he says.

A partnership with Veneziano Coffee Roasters quickly brought him up to speed, with the Melbourne-based roaster showing Zachary and team the ropes.

“Whenever Wally opens a new café, he always partners with Veneziano,” says Zachary. “They’ve given us a lot of love and have taught me a lot. In the first three months, I learned so much about coffee and how to interact with customers, which has since become my favourite part of the job.”

“They were super helpful in getting us set up and making sure everything was running properly.”

Zachary says Deakin & Me has recently become officially branded with Veneziano, which he sees as a great opportunity for both parties.

“It’s been a lot of fun to get the Veneziano word out there,” he says. “The relationship has been great so far, and we know that if we ever need anything, they’re just a call away.”

Deakin & Me

7 Geils Court, Deakin, Australian Capital Territory 2600

Open daily 7am to 3pm

This article appears in the June 2024 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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