“We didn’t want to just be 'that cafe' down the road, we want to stand out”
Both humble as anything, Head Chefs try to brush past the fact they cooked inside Buckingham Palace and alongside Adriano Zumbo- secret's out!See our handpicked guides to Newcastle
BY ANNABEL ROBINSON
Longtime chefs and life partners Phillip Gameson and Hayley Sinkinson have partnered up to finally create a workspace where their love for food can flourish, yet escapes the usual strenuous lifestyle a head chef would face.
Originally from Darwin, 41 year old Phillip has been in the industry for over 25 years. After studying overseas and living in the hustle and bustle of London City, he managed to land himself a job cooking for the Queen! (Mind you, this mouth dropping achievement only came to my knowledge thanks to his partner Hayley blurting it out, while Phillip remained humble as anything and brushed it under the rug!) Whilst working at both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, he was announced the Top chef in the UK for two years running.
“Look I have picked up a lot and learnt a lot. At the time it was everything, but now I just love cooking, but I don’t necessarily love the life style that comes with it, hence having a café that will just run through the day.”
Phillip and Hayley both moved to Newcastle about 3 years ago in hope to continue their dream of starting up their own business.
“When I moved to Newcastle, I was here to focus on helping my best childhood mate Dave start up Bao Brothers!”
Since growing up in Darwin together, it’s a nice feeling for them to both have success in the food industry in the same town, miles away from home. Lucky Newcastle!
“...But since then, I have fallen in love with the coffee side of things! Once I got on the machine, this is where I have stayed.”
Partner Hayley has been cooking since she was just 16 years old. After meeting in Thailand whilst Phillip was living in Bali for 4 years, the two did a bit of back and forth between Adelaide and Darwin before they decided to call Newcastle home.
“When I started working in Newcastle I started to notice my love for cooking was fading... I had been doing it for so long, and I was getting tired of it. Even when I was Head Chef of different places, there is always someone trying to tell you what to do. Whether it was the owner, or somebody else…I never had the free range to do what I wanted to do.”
Hayley said she has always really been into cooking sweets and treats. Back in Adelaide, she really got into cake decorating and thinks that’s why the drive for sweet over savoury is embedded in her.
She also worked in some pretty fancy places and has cooked for lots of celebrities before moving to Newcastle herself. Lucky Hayley, managed to score a gig cooking at function alongside Adriano Zumbo!
As they are both chefs it’s easy to have everything made in-house and they can avoid buying anything off-site. Hayley focuses on all the sweets and savoury,
while Phillip works on the coffee.
Hayley and Phillip said they were actually presented with this opportunity of Praise Joe’s and they “just sat on it”! Funnily enough, they knew the landlord, so I guess it was meant to be!
“It all happened so organically without effort! It just really works.”
“Well first off, ‘praise’. We are so passionate about what we do so that’s where that came from...and the ‘Joe’ represents the coffee, you know like ‘cuppa Joe! So in a sense, it means praise coffee, and that’s what we are all about. We do want to try and stand out and not to be confused as just ‘that café down the road’ – that’s why we are an Urban Pantry!”
“Keep it simple and do it well!”
Hayley and Phillip believe that the key to success is to not over complicate things. By executing it well, they hope their business will speak for itself. This is just the beginning of their new chapter, in a new town, with a new project. We can’t wait to see what this dynamic duo brings to our city.
“Newcastle is an amazing, both modern and old city. It seems to be growing very quickly and Tighes Hill is a close-knit community. Everyone has been watching us since day one wondering what is happening! I feel like we are part of a family here…and that’s what it takes to grow a small business. It is very humbling, we feel so welcomed and know all the neighbours already.”
The pair also hope to see where they go with the ‘Huskee cup’ scheme. Huskee cups are a new movement, stepping forward to help the environment. The concept is to try to reduce the waste of coffee as tonnes of coffee husks (the shell of the coffee bean) are wasted and go into landfill every day. To do this, every Huskee cup is made from a combination of coffee husks and other natural substances. Of course, all reusable cups reduce our eco-footprint, but they are generally made from either glass or plastic. By creating a reusable cup out of all the unwanted coffee waste is a true point of difference. Not only are the Huskee cups great for the environment, but the scheme also focuses on a swap in and out ideology with other cafes that support the arrangement.
“We are pushing for more cafes to get on board with it, especially in Newcastle so we can build a community where everyone can swap and go.”