With ‘trend’ eateries popping up and disappearing around the globe faster than you can say ‘fad diet’ – there’s a new kid on the block in Hamilton, but this one is here to stay.
Cafe Inc is the brainchild of Matt Gatchell and partner Lisa Riley. Despite their young age, between them they boast a couple of decades and some fairly extensive experience in the food and cafe industry.
With a number of food allergies, as well as being gluten intolerant, chef Matt is adamant he is not jumping on any fad bandwagon, but rather is committed to dishing up cafe-style dishes made from real ingredients and fresh produce.
“If it’s got a number in the ingredient list, I don’t want to use it,” he said.
The kitchen is overflowing with carefully sourced fresh produce and everywhere you look there are taste sensations simmering.
“This has definitely reignited my passion for food,” admits Matt, “I’ve loved experimenting with new ingredients and new flavours.”
With 90 percent of the menu gluten free and a strong emphasis on clean food, Cafe Inc will also appeal to the health and fitness conscious or those following paleo or clean eating philosophies.
“I haven’t set it up like that. I just want it to be somewhere people with allergies or food intolerances can come and know they’re not going to be judged or dished up the same old tired recipes.”
Having worked for well-established brands like Gone Burger and the Phoenix Group, Matt is a Hamiltonian through and through. He started training straight out of school (Hillcrest High) and while the anti-social nature of being a chef saw him take a break for a while, he could never help himself from returning.
This time though he is delighted that it is on his terms, with his food, his passion and his menu.
“It can be hard for people with food allergies or intolerances and they can be made to feel awkward about it. Not here. We want people to relax, enjoy the food and just enjoy themselves.
Lisa will manage the front of house and coffee; her areas of expertise, while Matt will remain hard at work in the kitchen.
Interest in Cafe Inc has been phenomenal. Before even opening, Cafe Inc’s face book page gathered up 1000 likes with ease.
As well as experimenting with flavours and natural alternatives to commonly used processed ingredients, Matt is also constantly creating syrups, sauces and side dressings.
“I love developing flavours and the challenge of keeping that freshness and depth of flavour.”
Open from 6.30am, Cafe Inc has already proven a hit with the early morning breakfast crowd. There are those looking to fuel up after the gym with the vegetarian and paleo big breakfast (Matt makes his own baked beans and hash browns), as well as those looking for gluten free porridge, sweet and savoury pancakes and so much more.
Open seven days a week, Matt and Lisa are undaunted by the tireless workload ahead of them.
“We both know this life and what it’s like, and we’re committed to doing it together. Plus we’re inspired by the food and excited to bring something different to Hamilton.”
And finally the name; Cafe Inc. The Inc stands for inclusive – ‘we’re making food for everyone here.”