Chris Henry and his business partners Nev Juric and Ross Wilson each had 20 to 30 years of experience working in the hospitality industry as chefs before opening The Good Food Collective. It is through Ross’s prior café experience that the men became acquainted with the café’s roaster Mocopan Coffee.
“It’s a very easy company to deal with,” Chris says. “Mocopan provides a fresh product, roasted regularly, and great customer service.”
Chris and his partners tasted several blends before choosing to use Mocopan’s Roast ’54. The blend is based on a Sumatran Mandheling from Indonesia, with other origins including Papua New Guinea, Colombia, and Ethiopia. Mocopan describes the coffee as enriched with a deep tone of dark chocolate and dried nuts, with hints of earthy and cedar spice.
Chris says The Good Food Collective was born from his and his partners’ desire to work for themselves.
“We were pretty tired of working for other people,” he says. “We’ve all worked in the industry for a very long time, so having [the café] be our own is very rewarding.”
Chris, Nev, and Ross chose to open a café over a restaurant, preferring the fast turnover and flexibility a café offers.
“It’s slightly less hours then if we’d opened a restaurant where you have to do lunch and dinner,” Chris says. “We all worked as breakfast chefs for a long period of time, so it kind of felt like the right choice to open a café.”
Chris says the ability to constantly change the menu was another drawcard, especially with their previous kitchen experience.
The Good Food Collective makes all of its food and drinks onsite, something Chris says is unique along Maling Road.
“A lack of fresh produce and house-made food was something we noticed when we first visited the area,” he says. “Everything is made onsite at our café, which is becoming a bit of a rarity nowadays.”
A fixture on The Good Food Collective’s menu is the avocado and hummus, which the café makes using avocados it grows itself when available.
“We have a three-storey-high avocado tree in our backyard. It is a real talking point among visitors at the café,” Chris says. “A lot of people will go sit underneath it, then realise that it is an avocado tree.”
Customers also enjoy the café’s family friendly atmosphere. As such, Chris is seeing a shift in the café’s demographic, with more young families moving to the Canterbury area.
“I’d say 65 per cent of our clientele are families, with parents between 35 and 45 and a few children,” he says. “The rest of our customers are largely middle aged or older. We’re catering for all types of people, and a lot of the older demographic enjoy that we still make everything [in house].
“We have a lovely, loyal, regular clientele who appreciate what we do, so that’s been really rewarding for us.”
The Good Food Collective
123 Maling Rd, Canterbury, Victoria 3126
Open Monday to Wednesday 6am to 4pm, Thursday to Saturday 6am to 8:30pm, Sunday 8am to 3pm
0432 060 599