Meet Andrew McConnell
Andrew McConnell’s Melbourne restaurants – Cumulus Inc., Cutler & Co. and Golden Fields – have propelled him to the forefront of this city’s culinary consciousness. He has done as much to define Melbourne’s dining scene as anyone, and is thus perfectly qualified to talk about the food that makes this town tick.
Andrew describes Melbourne’s culinary scene in three words – “vibrant, exciting and progressive” – and the same adjectives could also be used to describe his own three restaurants. Scattered across the CBD, Fitzroy and St Kilda, each establishment is indicative of its own unique locale.
“Like most great cities around the world, Melbourne is a city made up of various boroughs, villages and ‘burbs. What I love about Cumulus is that it reflects the inner-city accessibility and buzz of Melbourne. In reference to Cutler & Co and Golden Fields, while these locations are geographically separate there is also a distinct difference between the relaxed beachside location of St Kilda and the urban post-industrial design centre of Fitzroy.”
In fact the city as a whole – proudly multicultural and with a strong fresh food ethos – has had a considerable influence on his food philosophy.
“The most obvious influence comes from the diversity of people who have chosen to live here. They have enriched our way of life in more ways than we realise; not only just the food we eat – but how and when we eat, who we eat with and why. Countless cultural festivals are also open to the whole population and really build a sense of community.
“And when I look at this city, how it operates and its relationships with and proximity to the wine and rural regions, it is also an important factor in the restaurant industry's success.”
Outside of his own establishments, one of Andrew’s favourite restaurants is The Estelle in Northcote on account of its “progressive food and quirky dining room”, and his favourite bar is Gerald’s Bar in Carlton for its “hospitality, quality, rustic charm and confidence”.
And what’s one of his favourite foodie things to do in Melbourne?
“I love wandering the streets, stopping at various tapas style venues and eating a progressive menu. The only other place in the world I have been able to do this is in Spain.”