Con Vailas: The MasterChef TV star is about to throw open the doors of a new North Hobart eatery
Fresh from national television, Con Vailas is about to serve up a new kind of Melbourne eatery experience for Hobart, writes SHAUN McMANUS
Former Master Chef contestant Con Vailas won’t be cooking up a storm when his new North Hobart eatery opens this week, but he hopes his sunny outlook will brighten customers’ days.
The cafe Born in Brunswick is due to throw open its doors on December 1, with coffee and brunch the cornerstones of what will be Hobart’s own slice of Melbourne.
Con, with lifelong friend Ben Korkmaz (on the left of the picture with Con), will be working on the customer service aspect of the business, while exciting young chef Josh Retzer works in the kitchen.
He may be a TV star, but Con hasn’t let his fame go to his head, and he is willing to put in the hard yards to see the new venture succeed.
“Benny and I will be out on the floor just doing whatever we’ve got to do, if we’ve got to wash dishes we’ll wash dishes,” he said.
“Our main focal point is customer service, as with any hospitality business, but we really want to focus on giving great service. [We will be] going out of our way to deliver a nice place to sit and eat.”
The cafe’s interior has been a closely-guarded secret, with blacked-out windows shrouding the place in mystery.
Days out from the launch, though, it can be revealed that
We will be going out of our way to deliver a nice place to sit and eat ... It makes you feel happy, and I feel like if your environment is happy, your experience is going to be happy
the cafe will have a very light and bright feel, with an abundance of white marble, timber and plants.
“It makes you feel happy, and I feel like if your environment is happy, your experience is going to be happy,” Con said.
While he believes that Hobart’s food scene is thriving, Con sees a gap in the market when it comes to brunch.
It is a gap he is more than happy to fill with Born in Brunswick, which is inspired by the time Con spent in Melbourne before competing on the hit TV
“There’s plenty of good food around [Hobart], heaps, but brunch is a different ball game I feel like,” he said. “It’s just on a different level when you see it in Melbourne.”
The Melbourne influence becomes clear when you look at some of the highlights of the menu, with Born in Brunswick’s tropical breakfast panna cotta a tip of the hat to the Victorian capital.
“That’s synonymous to the Melbourne brunch scene, every good cafe has their take on a breakfast panna cotta,” Con said.
Another highlight on the new menu is a “cheeky” breakfast cocktail list.
A customised gleaming white coffee machine, a “serious piece of machinery” is to provide a welcome pick-me-up for customers. Con said that his time on
MasterChef earlier this year was a “great experience” which gave him the confidence to pursue his dreams.
“I don’t really put myself out there a lot, but after that I feel like I’ve just gone ‘bugger it, I’m just going do whatever I want to do’,” he said.
While his new-found fame has helped generate publicity for his new eatery, Con hopes Born in Brunswick will stand out on its own in the Hobart food scene.
“I don’t want Born in Brunswick to be affiliated with Con from MasterChef, I want it to hold its own,” he said.
“I want people to go ‘that place is amazing’.”