Published on July 30, 2020
It’s 9.19am and the coffee machine in the new HVGS Meeting Place Café has had its first break of the morning. It’s been a busy start to the day with a constant stream of students and staff stopping in for their morning fix of hot chocolate, coffee and toasties. A smattering of staff linger around the cedar and sandstone seats catching up on today’s ‘need-to-knows’, and the strident tones of a piano being put through its paces by an enthusiastic student in the adjoining Music Centre enhances the vibrant energy in the café courtyard. The coffee machine isn’t quiet for long – a customer approaches the counter and it whirls back into action.
Twelve years ago, Head of Students Mr Greg Robinson, had a vision – the notion of a place that brought people together on a social level combined with good food (and coffee!). From that initial idea – and following a few iterations – The Meeting Place Café and Treetops Restaurant (located above the café) were baked into the School’s Masterplan.
“A cafeteria is a fantastic place for people to connect and it creates an engaging learning and working environment for students as well as staff. Seeing this finally come to fruition is incredibly rewarding,” says Greg.
While the facilities and ambience in the new dining precinct are exceptional, it is second only to the foray of delicious and delectable goodies thoughtfully prepared by professional chef and café manager Anthony McGavin (and team). Sure to satisfy any palette – even the fussy eaters – Anthony’s expert eye and tasty recipes have been a hit with students and staff. Pumpkin and ricotta pie, gourmet toasties, gluten-free frittata, sushi and nachos have all been best sellers in the opening week. Naturally, traditional school favourites are also on the menu for the less culinary adventurous.
“Feedback from students and staff has been wonderful. Students have especially noticed the variety of new food selections and the happy and uplifting atmosphere in which to enjoy them,” says Greg.
The cafeteria project showcases our maturity as a school, providing a recreational and leisure space to enjoy quality food, relaxation time, and good company in a dignified way.
Perfectly positioned in the heart of the School, the new dining precinct is an impressive sight. Its contemporary design of timber and steel compliments other school buildings and the outdoor seating area is a fantastic place to warm up in the winter sun with friends and colleagues.
The Meeting Place Café serves quick, café style breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea snacks while Treetops Restaurant (opening late 2020) boasts a design-built dining room with a chef-designed menu to accommodate 120 guests for lunch. Treetops will also provide a sophisticated function and event space for School events – the first being the HVGS Beyond Borders International Tours Fundraising Dinner in October.
An extension of the Music Centre was also included in the build. Bright and airy music classrooms, new student instrument storage, rehearsal rooms and a chamber room were all thoughtfully included and are enjoyed by students and teachers.