By Vivienne Pearson
A new operator of the Brunswick Picture House kiosk is set to add a dash of food-based showmanship.
‘With cabaret, circus, cinema and comedy in our Pandora’s box, we want our food to be as exciting as our shows,’ says Picture House co-owner Brett Haylock.
Sundays, previously running as Homemade Jam, will have a complete makeover without losing the relaxed deliciousness in the garden oasis that locals have come to love. On offer will be yum cha but, being the Picture House, the dumplings will have a dramatic flair. The name, perhaps the cutest around, gives a hint: Yum Cha Cha.
‘Our yum cha will be served in traditional bamboo steamers on very non-traditional red trollies by very non-traditional servers,’ says co-owner Chris Chen.
This performance element will also be present in Picture House food served before events and during private functions. ‘Expect spectacle, flourish, and the menu being as memorable as the acts,’ says Brett.
The owner of the new food venture is Cam Willis, known to many locals as owner of Footbridge Café (which will continue as usual). Cam, a regular Picture House audience member, is super-excited about becoming part of the Picture House team. ‘It is a unique commercial space in Bruns,’ he says. ‘To have the opportunity to serve people in that environment is out of this world.’
Cam is no stranger to performance. As well as having been onstage in variety shows, kids’ entertainment and lip-syncing competitions, he sees working in hospitality as akin to being onstage. ‘The cafe floor, or bar, is my stage,’ he says.
Cam has put together a like-minded team. Front of stage will be Jocelyn Martin as manager and Samantha Fisher as chef. ‘Samantha comes from a functions background so, as soon as I mentioned the Picture House, she immediately had amazing ideas of food to complement the different events,’ says Cam. Think fruit rockets and homemade chocolate bars for kid events and oysters and roast beef tartlet canapés for Cheeky Cabarets.
‘Wall flower’ will not be part of the job description for staff. ‘No-one will work here if they’re not over the top,’ says Cam. ‘They’ll be wearing everything from drag to tuxedos.’
Food is not the only change underway at Brunswick Picture House. Pete Castaldi, a name that will be familiar to a generation of Triple J radio listeners, is joining the team as producer. Bringing his extensive experience in film and screen festivals, Pete will also further develop the live performances.
Not many know that Pete has also been a chef and restaurateur. Though you are unlikely to see him active in the kitchen, this experience will further enhance the flow of ideas between food and performance.
The new food venture is so new that it’s overall name (Yum Cha Cha being Sundays only) is still in development. Stay tuned – there will be a long drum roll while options are carefully considered – see next week’s Echo for the big revelation.
Brunswick Picture House: be the first to try the new food – before Cheeky Cabarets Friday 15, Sat 16 December and Yum Cha Cha Sundays from 17 December (3 sittings, no need to book). www.picturehouse.com / Facebook: @brunswickpicturehouse
Jocelyn and Cam do the Yum Cha Cha. Photo credit Kate Nutt Photography.