In 2008 Andrew McConnell opened Cumulus Inc on Flinders Lane. It was a seminal moment for Melbourne – the city couldn’t have imagined then the impact one restaurateur would have on the city’s dining culture over the next decade.
In 2009, enter Broadsheet – a response to exciting, widespread cultural changes and a palpable new energy simmering across the city, the casualisation of fine dining epitomised by Cumulus among them. I was living overseas at the time and so experienced these changes in snapshots during short visits home: third-wave coffee, no-reservations diners, a crop of world-renowned bars, global fashion sensations. It was a dramatic transformation I really only came to understand with Broadsheet’s help.
In just a few years the Broadsheet seal of approval had become the only one that mattered to friends and family, and when I read it for the first time I understood why: it was covering culture and city life in a way that felt original, fresh and prescient.
Australian dining was changing and Broadsheet was obsessed with its evolution. The restaurants. The chefs. The designers. The experience. Beyond food and drink it had a knack for identifying future fashion and design leaders, and covered local art, creatives and music in a way that felt accessible and, most importantly, useful. Someone reading the publication for the first time today will experience those same ingredients (with the added bonus of recommendations on travel and active lifestyles).
It seems fitting then, on our 10th birthday, to reflect on McConnell and his enduring influence on the Melbourne dining scene. He opened Cumulus the year before Broadsheet started, and so set in motion a new era of dining not just in this city but arguably around the country. In 2019 his fingerprints are all over the city in palpable and subtle ways, and as Michael Harden writes in “The McConnell Effect” that influence goes far beyond his own venues and those of his protégés.
Elsewhere in the issue we recognise other cultural pioneers whose journeys began at the same time as Broadsheet’s, and those driving Melbourne’s culture forward now. A chef-restaurateur with a blueprint for contemporary fine dining. A new guard of fitness studios with both brains and beauty. An emerging fashion designer seeking to revolutionise activewear. And the small Australian towns embracing an electric-car future.
Double digits. It’s a big anniversary. And none of this would have been possible without you, our readers. Thank you for coming on the journey, thank you for always pushing us to be better, and thank you for your endless curiosity about your city. Here’s to 10 more years of exploring.
This story originally appeared in print issue 28.