We love food
The Schoolhouse Studios was established in 2010 by Alice Glenn and Elizabeth Barnett, not through business acumen but rather utter frustration and intent need for a space to practice their artistic and creative endeavours. They soon found this was a shared need and so a community of emerging artists and designers began to transform the former St Josephs Technical College into a thriving hub for the practice and exhibition of art, food, music, and performance.
In 2012 what amounted to over 100 artist had to move on to make way for development. Over the next year the not-for-profit board of directors worked with young architects, designers and students as well as financial advisors, developers, builders etc. to re-establish this community in a former industrial warehouse in inner suburban Melbourne.
The design for the new space, by Murray Barker and Raphael Kilpatrick, has sought to make stronger the connection between residents and assist to create informal encounters which lead to further collaboration.
Tiggy sits at the entrance to Schoolhouse Studios. The café acts as an interface between the public and the residents. A common ground where the pleasures of food can be enjoyed without exclusivity. Residents are welcome to commandeer a table for project work outside of their studio, bring their own lunch or simply sit and drink coffee all day and the public are welcome to do the same.
Most of the built components of the café were designed and made by us. The concrete counter was a process of learning to weld for the steel frame through to pouring concrete in-situ and troweling the textured finish. Most of the materials have been salvaged from over ordered or excess on building constructions but has come together without being piecemeal. There is nothing we loathe more than "eco themed", since when was ecology or the environment a style? And so the café is what it is, a balance of the practicalities of limited space and a coming together of affordable odds and ends to a finish that allows the food to be prized and enjoyed in company.
We are not trained cooks but we are very fond of food. Cooking has an intensity generated by an immense responsibility to honour the produce, the grower, the animal and all the wonderful processes that brought the food to our bench. "Don't fuck up it up" lingers in our mind and with that a simplicity is maintained in our cooking, an authenticity of ingredient and a respect of tradition (that which has already been got right). We don't feel the need to create an edge or cook what is "on trend".
The menu changes daily and is settled on the night before. This is in response to the people we feed each day, the weather and what we feel works well together. Our food needs to nourish and also uplift. Sometimes dude food, a croque monsieur toasted sandwich for example, can refresh the mind as much as a pulse salad can recalibrate your insides. Eating should always be a pleasure.