ĻӰ

Staff Spotlight – Kurt Collins

Meet Kurt Collins, Murphy's Café Assistant

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What do you most enjoy about working in Murphy’s Café? 

The change! I’ve been doing hospitality for 27 years now and have always worked nights, long weekends and split shifts. This role at St Mary’s College has been the icing on the cake. A Monday-to-Friday job working regular hours—something that every hospitality worker wants to achieve.

What education, training, qualifications and/or practical experience did you need to get started in hospitality? 

After Year 12, I enrolled at TasTAFE Drysdale and completed my cookery apprenticeship up on the northwest coast at a restaurant called Glo Glo’s in Latrobe (which is sadly no longer in business). I also worked for six months on the Spirit of Tasmania, which was good fun!

Can you share a career highlight or proud job accomplishment?

Running my own business for six years is a major highlight. I had place called The Lansdowne Café up in West Hobart. I started there as an employee in 2008 before buying the business. It was an eye-opening journey and provided many opportunities to grow and learn from my mistakes.

What tips, tricks and tools do you have to stay fresh and inspired? 

Finding inspiration from the people around me is something that I prioritise. The hospitality industry is forever changing and redefining itself, and it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends. People in general are a great source of information and knowledge—I’m always open to receiving feedback and new ways of thinking and doing things. There are so many opportunities to upskill through short courses through to high-level qualifications.

Do you have any advice for students who are considering a career in your industry? 

Do whatever you can to get your foot in the door and your name out there, whether that be exploring potential career paths through a work experience/placement program (which is something we offer at the College in Year 10), networking with hospitality venues or putting your hand up for volunteer work. Volunteering doesn’t have to mean seven hours a day, Monday to Friday. It can be just one day a week, or even one hour a night. My first job was mopping floors—don’t be discouraged by hard work!

What’s your go-to dish in the kitchen? 

I’ve been cooking for 27 years, and I’ve covered every cuisine imaginable, from fine dining to café breakfasts, so for me, my idea of home is something I can quickly whip up and enjoy. I’m a convenience cook, so I’m big on comfort food. I’m also a big pasta person—it’s just so versatile. When it comes to a pasta dish, I’d say carbonara is a favourite. Growing up with a single parent, pasta was always the cheap option. Mum would serve pasta in all its iterations!

Favourite item on the Murphy’s menu? 

I really like the egg and bacon paninis personally! It’s all simple food, but at the end of the day, it’s about flavour and delicious, wholesome and locally sourced ingredients. What I like about the menu is that on top of the staple items, there are also daily specials which is where our team can put our heads together and come up with a few different ideas.

Most popular item ordered by students and staff? 

Year 10 student Freya Shanny’s cookies are always a hit…and the students love the brownies. Our menu is seasonal, so there is always a ‘flavour of the month’ in terms of what people are currently enjoying. I guess in Hobart, weather plays a big part too!

What do you like doing in your spare time? 

I’m actually looking at joining a line dancing class (which is something my siblings and I did as kids growing up). I also used to do ballroom dancing. I have family who are dairy farmers and run a beef cattle farm up on the northwest coast, so you could say there is a country connection there!

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