A visit to Maitland's High St just got a little sweeter
Growing up around food Alina Mackee, or The Cunning Culinarian, just loves to cook and when you visit her gorgeous café on Maitland’s High St you’ll totally understand what we mean.See our handpicked guides to the HunterValley
Finding this beautiful old building in May this year, in just seven weeks Alina managed to strip back, paint and refurb the entire space injecting some
much needed classic country luxe.
“I wasn’t willing to compromise on any of the interiors, there were a couple of things I splashed out on like the tiles in the foyer and the black chandelier, and they really set the tone, but I wanted to work with the building not fight it which is why I’ve gone for a more elegant look.”
Alina has been cooking and catering in the Maitland area for most of her life, with her food gaining a cult following. So when this 245 High St address became available it made perfect sense to bring it all under the one roof.
Ask Alina about her style of cooking and you get a very modest answer, we’ll let the pictures do the talking,
“I’d say it’s quite home baked, it does have a modern edge, I am a foodie and I like using different techniques and ingredients but it has quite a homemade feel to it".
“I am not that fancy, kind of pretty French patisserie, my dad’s a chef so I grew up working for him and learning from him. But mostly I was influenced
by my grandmother who used to let me cook in her kitchen, she would just be like ‘go nuts I’ll do the dishes I am just happy for you to be cooking
“She made sure I knew all the basics like she taught me how to make a Roux and Béchamel Sauce from scratch and taught me how to make a gravy from the pan juices.
“And that’s why I love doing the cooking classes teaching the kids all the fundamentals that they can then use for anything. Like making a basic tomato sauce and pastry which I will be doing here in the kitchen. They get their own chef hat and apron and they also get to take home dinner for the family."
The coffee, as you would expect, is high on Alina’s list of priorities and working with the Little Marionette was a no brainer,
“I probably first tried Little Marionette about five years ago in Newcastle and just fell in love with it, so the coffee side of things was an easy decision
They’ve been so good to work with, so fun and so supportive".
In addition to the indoor seating Alina has also built a very convenient coffee window up front that opens from 6:30am, and out back there’s a beautiful
courtyard area, complete with trellises and perfectly pruned greenery.
Best yet, there’s even a kitchen garden just behind the building which Alina plans to fill with all sorts of garden goodies.