2 May - By Martina Taeker
A feature of this year’s Tasting Australia is its pop-up restaurant, Glasshouse Kitchen, in Town Square. Creating a pop-up is an enormous undertaking that involves challenges not found when opening a restaurant in an existing building. Tess Footner has been grappling with this since the kitchen’s creation, noting that location, theme and intended audience must fuse with function, logistics and aesthetics in a high-pressure environment.
Tess was Maître d’ on the opening night, Sunday April 30, and will close the door behind the final guest on Saturday May 6. “I guess I’ve got a bug about being part of the opening process,” Tess says. “It can be a stressful situation but I enjoy the creative challenge of taking something from an embryonic state and making it work.”
She is quick to point out that creating a successful pop-up dining experience requires a team that works hard and well together. “It won’t work if you just stick to your own job description. When everyone pulls together, the project is much less daunting. As the team pulls together, the project comes together and excitement builds. When we opened the doors at 7pm on Sunday, we knew what we were doing. The satisfied diners confirmed that we had achieved what we set out to do.”
Tess leads a team of 41 experienced front-of-house staff, plus students from the bachelor and master programs of Le Cordon Bleu who have volunteered to work at Glasshouse Kitchen.They are buddied with experienced staff and are gaining valuable real-world experience by working in such an intensive pop-up.
When Tasting Australia ends, Glasshouse Kitchen will disappear from the landscape. “There is a sadness in thinking about the end,” Tess acknowledges. “But much of the vibrancy and enjoyment of a successful pop-up is its fleeting nature.” The people who dine in Glasshouse Kitchen during Tasting Australia will experience a unique evening of fine dining that will never be repeated in this form.