Who is Andrew Gooden: I was a policeman and Joanne was a maths teacher, we moved to a Wagga from Sydney for our jobs. There were not many coffee shops to buy lunch from at the time so when we heard Wes was for sale we decided to buy it and turn it into a coffee shop.
Best recent dining experience: We don’t dine out much because we all have a lot of eating requirements. It is usually just a family get-together with home-cooked meals, wine, and laughter. That’s what we’re into.
Favourite cuisine: I’m pretty plain because of my eating requirements. But I’m heading more into the salads.
What ingredient can I not live without: I cannot live without chocolate.
How many Weet-Bix do I do: I do two gluten-free Weet-Bix.
Best coffee spot in Wagga: I like mine, but there are several nice coffee shops around Wagga now. There weren’t many varieties when we started, but now many coffee shops are popping up, so you should go out and try them. There are some nice blends out there.
Favourite coffee: I like an extra shot small latte.
What’s your coffee blend: Coffee Mio from Melbourne.
What’s the weirdest coffee order you’ve received: One lady wanted a half decaf, half normal, half skim and half light in one cup, but I didn’t do it. Many people come in and try to make something uniquely their own, but that one was a little bit over the top.
Next big thing in the Wagga food scene: There are many cultures and flavours out there. I would like to see more of it. It would be nice. I’d also like to see people doing individual things. When we travel, we see many places have the same thing that’s pre-made and pre-bought.
Favourite place to lunch in Wagga: My kitchen.
A must-try on our menu: The whole menu. We tried it and tasted it ourselves and I like them all. I work my way through it. The customers enjoy everything.
Most used ingredient at Wes’s Walkabout Cafe: Our poached chicken breast.
Our top pick from our desserts: They are all homemade and I like the cheesecake. It’s been a staple for 31 years.
My biggest culinary influence: Just our upbringing and what we had as kids. My mother inspired me in a way and I was one of 10 kids. My wife is one of six. Both our mothers did a lot of cooking, so we always spent a lot of time in the kitchen as well.
Favourite cookbook: I don’t have one. My wife does a lot of the cooking and I do a lot of the heavy mixing and preparing. She is the brains, master, and timer of all the cooking, and I am the chief pan washer. But it’s a combined effort.
Who I admire in the Wagga food and wine scene: Everyone because they get up and have a go. In this industry, there are a lot of hours going into what you do outside of what you’re producing and offering people.
Death row meal: Pork medallions on a bed of rice, a little tossed salad, chips and gravy!!!
Where am I travelling to next: Probably to Canberra.
Dream destination: I’d like to go to New Zealand. I would also like to do all of Australia.
My biggest fear: Old age.
My least favourite food: Spicy foods. I don’t have a constitution for strong curries. I’ve never been into them or learned to appreciate them. I know I’m probably missing something. I also don’t like red wine, but I’ll have white wine.
My top three cooking tips: Preparation is a must. If a recipe works once, it will keep working all the time. You’ve got to use good quality ingredients and don’t take shortcuts.
Wes’s Walkabout Cafe is located at 78 Brookong Avenue, Wagga Wagga and it’s open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 3 pm.