Guys, it’s my birthday.
Well, it’s not my birthday today, but it looms. Like, this week, looms. I have feelings about birthdays. This year, it’s a reflective one. Taking stock, counting my blessings, nursing the wounds of the last couple of months, counting my blessings again because that seems to help a whole bunch.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting the most exceptional, humble and hardworking people as a result of this little blog o mine. And somehow, I’ve even been lucky enough to get to call some of them friends.
I don’t do this thing in a vacuum. It takes a village to bring everything together, and it is my distinct honor to tell you about some of the people who are completely killing it in their game, and I hope you enjoy what they do as much as I have had the pleasure to.
Now, in no particular order:
- Manuka Woodfire Kitchen in Fremantle
There is no one who quite does it like Kenny. His food is unpretentious and uncomplicated, but it’s also hands down the best meal you’ll eat south of the river, and probably the city. With the added bonus of Sam Ward recently joining the team, this place is about to raise the bar.
- Peggy Saas Photography
I was first introduced to Peggy through a food photography workshop, but it’s her wedding photography that is like no one else. Her work has so much life, feeling, and joy in it that sometimes it feels like intruding on a personal moment.
- Budburst Small Bar in Mt Hawthorn
Rachael Niall kills it at her French-inspired wine bar. She and her team have an unparalleled knowledge of wine (and are happy to share it!), and the chef turns out some gorgeous charcuterie to match. Oh, and have I mentioned the Croque monsieur? It’s the greatest ham and cheese sandwich you’ll ever have, trust me on this.
- Laura Moseley
This girl honestly deserves all the awards, ever. There’s honestly no one who loves this city more than Laura, and she works tirelessly to promote and make it better. If you’ve attended a cultural event in the city, she probably had a hand in organising it, or you saw her flying around in her high-vis to make sure it ran flawlessly. Laura has an energy and enthusiasm that I wish I could bottle, she’s incredible.
- No Lights No Lycra
It doesn’t matter if you dance like Michael Jackson or Elaine from Seinfeld, NLNL is the place for you to tap into your inner dancing queen (or king) and just let it all out. A pitch black room, your comfiest clothes (no heels!!) and banging tunes that cover all tastes. It’s sweaty, therapeutic and bloody awesome.
- Layup in Northbridge
One of the most interesting breakfast menus in around. Fucking fantastic.
- Max Veenhuyzen
He writes for everything worth reading (Gourmet Traveller, Broadsheet, Qantas), eats everywhere you dream of, in cities all over the world. But when it comes down to it he’s happiest tucking into a bahn mi in Girrawheen, because that’s just the low-key guy he is. He’s generous with his time and knowledge, is well liked and respected within the industry (a rare feat), and is generally the coolest guy I know – and that is a statement I can’t believe I get to make.
- Jessica Shaver Photography
Jess’s love for the hospitality industry, the producers, venues she works with is truly infectious. She’s incredibly knowledgeable and well respected, and I could listen to her talk all day. There’s a very good reason why she’s one of the best food photographers in Perth, and you can see that passion in her work.
- Chicho Gelato in Northbridge
Chez and Carly don’t just make gelato. For them, it’s a craft and that careful matching of local ingredients to clever flavour combinations makes all the difference in their end product. Match that with their clever collaborations with other rad locals like Sue Lewis Chocolatier and Custard & Co cider, and Chicho just can’t be beat.
- Danica Zuks Photography
Danica is the ultimate all rounder. From food to weddings, events to cosplay, she does it all with care and craft. She’s meticulous, enthusiastic, and dedicated, and it’s such a joy to watch her work.
- Cecchi’s in Inglewood
Cecchi’s is one of Perth’s low-key hotspots. It’s that homey, casual vibe that makes you want to hole up in a corner all night with good friends, belly laughs, and too much wine. Mark and Kylee-Anne Cecchi are the ultimate hosts, and every time I’ve been has been stellar. Go. See for yourself.
- Max Brearley
There are food writers that go to venues, quaff some wine, then write about it at their desks. Not this guy. Max digs for truffles, dons bee-keeper suits, wellies, and hairnets, and makes friends with cows. For some, food in its various forms is a job, but Max (and his exceptional wife Sarah) has made it his life. And man, are we better for it.
- Sugar & Nice in Inglewood
You know that I love dessert. Cake, meringues, brownies, scrolls, marshmallows… My dreams look like Homer in Candyland. Which means, by association, my dreams look like Marnee’s cafe. Seriously, her cinnamon scrolls are my favourite. I would move heaven and earth to get my hands on them. She’s all fire, her social media is sassy and she makes impossible cake-based dreams come true.
- Charles Stewart
If you live in this city and love coffee, then at some point or another, you’ve probably been served a brew by Charles. Currently at Howdy Coffee in Bayswater, and with some pretty cool things in the pipeline, things are certainly never dull when he’s involved. Did I mention his girlfriend is a rockstar florist and even his dog is cooler than me?
- House of Theodora
This one is ladies only and definitely NSFW, but Jasmin is having much-needed conversations about knowing what you want, knowing how to ask for it, or getting it done on your own. Subscribe to her newsletter, follow her Instagram, enjoy the benefits. You’re welcome, ladies.
- Stranger Danger Dinner
Having dinner with seven strangers is normally the kind of thing that would make most of us break out in a cold sweat. But there is something different about these dinners, a nervous camaraderie. Plus, Sam Smith picks excellent venues for these dinners, with excellent wine lists, which makes everything just a little bit easier.
- Lloyd Summers Photography
If you are sitting at your desk and dreaming of places you’d rather be, odds are Lloyd has been there in the last 12 months (yeah, I hate him too). His work is vivid, colourful and beautiful.
- The Cat Cafe
You’ve read stories about cafes full of hedgehogs, snakes, rabbits, and owls popping up all over the world. But what makes The Cat Cafe in Subi different is the care and dedication that owners Chris and Terps have put into building their business. The proceeds from sales of treats in the cafe go back to helping other welfare organisations, and the cats in the cafe are rescues for the Cat Haven (and you’ve never seen a group of cats more loved in the world). It’s well worth a visit.
- Ann Shen
Her art is adorable. We share a personal hero. She wrote a killer book on Bad Girls.
- Smart Ladies
Jessica Valenti, Roxane Gay, Tara Moss, Rosie Waterland, Melissa Broder, Lindy West. My to-read pile is raging out of control.
Tell me who inspires you, who you’re grateful for. Or books that I should read, because I’m doubling down on this never-to-be-finished pile, so you may as well help bury me in it.