Stacey Krbaleski grew up in the Barossa Valley, where she spent her childhood picking fruit with her mum, and cooking with her at home. Food shared with family is at the core of the cafe, retail store and cooking school she’s recently opened with Nicole Walker in the city’s west.
Heart of Hall, which lives in a former bank branch, is a place to eat, shop and learn. The owners see it as a hub that will encourage people to carry on family cooking traditions and recipes, as well as learn more about where their food comes from – and take it all home to their own kitchens, of course.
“Having an opportunity for those recipes to be passed down from one family member to another is really important,” Krbaleski says. “Otherwise they just get lost.”
Walker grew up in a family of butchers and market gardeners. She has a coeliac daughter, so has become increasingly focused on the provenance of the food she serves at home. That approach is something Walker and Krbaleski want to pass on to their customers.
In the kitchen you’ll find head chef Danni Perryman, who previously worked at now-closed South Yarra brunch institution Harvey’s, and Walter’s Wine Bar.
Dishes include a range of salads, sandwiches and baked goods, with items such as granola and house-made yoghurt for breakfast and zucchini fritters at lunch. Local suppliers include Schulz Organic Dairy, Meredith Dairy, Small Batch Roasting Co. and La Madre Bakery. The shop’s fridge is stocked with deli products from Meatsmith.
Resident cooking instructor Kate McKay previously worked in Jamie Oliver’s London shop Recipease as both a breakfast chef and cooking instructor. Her night-time cooking classes cover topics ranging from cheese making to fresh pasta to vegan food to putting together a Spanish feast. Heart of Hall will also host local residents as instructors.
You’ll find cookbooks, cheese-making kits and chef knives in the retail store, as well as a range of other culinary equipment that aims to help students easily transfer what they learned in class, home.