SUPPLYING LOCAL PRODUCE: Harvest Halls Gap owners, newlyweds Carly and Richard Flecknoe, with their team. PHOTO: Paul CarracherGROWING up learning to crack eggs at her Nanna’s lime green laminate bench, Carly Flecknoe always knew there was more to food than just function and nutrition.
“I have strong memories of making scones, of a home filled with the smell of roasts, and it made me understand the emotional connection we have with food,” Carly said.
“I lost sight of that a bit in my teens –I think we all do at that age –but then when I moved out of home and began cooking for myself I had the desire to create memories through those food experiences.”
Carly’s food passion developed into an interest in Victoria’s food productionand the ‘paddock to plate’ movement.
While the idea of developing a provedore and cafe had been developing for a few years (a few “red wine chats about what we would do”, as Carly puts it),it wasn’t until a visit to Halls Gap in August that everything seemed to come together.
When asking people where to go for food that was expressly “Grampians”, Carly said no one had a strong answer.
“It lit a light bulb for us.Here was an opportunity to do what we’ve been talking about,” Carly said.
A speculative email to real estate agents led to a find: A backpackers that had seen better days.
“We knew, before we got out of the car park, before we even set foot on the property, that this was going to be it,” Carly said.
“There were the big beautiful trees, the relaxed vibe of the place. This was somewhere you could relax and watch the world go by.”
Keeping the leadlight windows, fireplaces and exterior intact, the inside was completely rebuilt. The focus was on creating a space that was comfortable and textured. Timber throughout provides warmth and a homely feel, while textured paints and hand-made tiles help to create an inviting place for a cup of coffee or meal.
Just prior to renovating the cafe, the couple had commissioned work outfittingthe two self-contained units on site, which Richard will manage.
And just in case they didn’t have enough to do, the couple tied the knot a week before the grand opening on November 13.
“It’s all been very high-energy and we’ve seen so many positive things happening,” Carly said.
She said she was excited to be part of people’s special experiences, including providing a picnic basket for a marriage proposal a week ago.
“Coming from outside the area, we’re really humbled about how we’ve already become part of people’s lives. I didn’t realise how much I would enjoy that.”
This week the couple expects to receive their liquor licence and will settle into a groove before the expected Christmas rush.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.