Wednesday, 21 November 2012


I remember when I first started work waiting tables in a restaurant. I was a bundle of nerves. There is so much to remember and as well as remembering all the systems and trying to balance plates up my arm in a nonchalant sort of way, you have to be welcoming and friendly. There's a lot going on. Imagine what it must be like for young people who come disadvantaged backgrounds; new migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, or Australian youth who are passionate about working in the hospitality industry, but unable to find work.

Scarf is a not-for-profit social enterprise which seeks to assist these young people by providing them with hospitality knowledge, skills and experience from mentors in the hospitality industry.

Participants embark on a 10 week programme where they take part in wine education, formal service practices, cocktail training, beer education, coffee making and more. The programme concludes with a dinner service, the now famous Monday Night Dinners. Scarf trainees get hands-on experience in a real restaurant environment whilst being guided by their mentors.

On this particular Monday night, the venue was The National Hotel in Richmond. Or, The Nash, as it is affectionately known. A beautiful big old pub that has been stylishly and industrially renovated. I was in a party of seven, seated at a solid wooden table. Our earnest waiter, Josh, enthusiastically poured water, took our drinks and then food orders, watched over by his very encouraging mentor. He did a great job, even if his anxiety was palpable.

And Scarf are doing a great job too. Creating a meaningful community. It's a cosy, bright accessory to keep out the chill of modern urban malaise.

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