29 July 2023

Five minutes with Craig Harpley, Temora Deli & Sandwich Bar

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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The owner of Temora Deli and Sandwich Bar, Craig Harpley, has been running the store since 2017 and is now looking to sell the business. Photo: Supplied.

Who is Craig Harpley: I really don’t know how to answer that one. I was born and raised in Temora and then I moved away when I was 18 years old. I lived in Sydney for 26 years and worked in top-end window furnishing most of the time – Australian made western red cedar shutters. I decided to move back to Temora about 12 years ago because I was over Sydney, the noise, the road rage. I was living in Harris Park Parramatta area and the office was in Chatswood and that was an hour and a half each way from work. I was just over it. The best thing about being back in Temora is to have the country lifestyle. Being able to walk down the street, look people in the eyes and say hello and not being ‘get out of my way’.

My then partner and I were at Temora Deli when it was on for sale. It was a joint decision and we decided to give it ago and opened in December 2017. We won best the potato scallops in NSW a couple of years back. Some chap travelled around the state trying scallops. I didn’t know we had one until a customer came in with a letter from a friend of hers telling her she had heard it on the radio.

I’m now getting ready to put the deli on the market. If anyone is interested they can come buy it. I have no idea what I’m going to do after I sell the store. New adventure. Wherever life takes me.

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Best recent dining experience: I don’t eat out. I’m here (Temora Deli) until business closes at 7:30 pm. The last time I enjoyed a dining experience was at Noodle Box in Wagga.

Favourite cuisine: I love all food. That’s the one thing I miss from Sydney is the restaurants. Being able to go out for Japanese tonight, Turkish tomorrow night and Lebanese the next night and Chinese the night after.

What ingredient can I not live without: Garlic. It has to be in everything.

Most embarrassing pantry or fridge item: Probably the cheesy puffs in my freezer.

How many Weet-Bix do I do: I don’t eat Weet-Bix anymore. Not since I was a kid. Back then I would eat about five or six.

Best coffee spot in Temora: Well, I have to say the deli.

Temora Deli specials changes everyday and serves roast meal every Sunday. Photo: Supplied.

Favourite coffee: A flat white.

What’s your coffee blend: Harris Coffee.

What’s the weirdest coffee order you’ve received: A dirty chai latte.

Next big thing in the Temora food scene: We don’t have any top-end restaurants anymore. If you want a nice night out it’s a pub meal. Shan and Dilini (owners of Diners Choice) have closed their restaurant. So I think a new high-end restaurant.

Favourite place to lunch in Temora: The deli of course.

A must-try on our menu: The most popular is the chicken schnitzel burger.

Temora Deli and Sandwich Bar’s fish and chips are one of the must try items on the menu. Photo: Supplied.

Most used ingredient at Temora Deli: Probably fish.

Our top pick from our desserts: Occasionally I do desserts. The top pick when I do them would probably be the deep-fried banana ice-cream. Nice, old-fashioned. I have an old-fashioned cafe and I try to keep my menu a little bit old-fashioned.

My biggest culinary influence: My mother and my grandmother. I always used to like being in the kitchen. I was probably more picking up food and in their way.

Favourite cookbook: I don’t have a favourite cookbook. But the one that I raid the most is probably mum’s cookbook. It’s her collection of recipes we’ve had over our life. My favourite recipe of Mum’s to make are the cream puffs. I have so many fond memories from my childhood with them.

Temora Deli and Sandwich Bar offers an array of items of on the menu to dine in or takeaway. Photo: Supplied.

Who I admire in the Temora food and wine scene: I think we’re lucky there are a lot of very good people in the food and coffee industry here in town. I think most people in town are really good at what they do.

What are this week’s specials at Temora Deli and Sandwich Bar: I have a daily specials board and we do a roast meal every Sunday.

Death row meal: My last meal … golden syrup dumplings with a cold glass of milk.

Where am I travelling to next: I would really like to go back to Ecuador. I went on a student exchange there in 1989 and I was there 11 months.

Dream destination: My dream destination would be the world. It would be the answer to everything if I could afford to travel forever.

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My biggest fear: I don’t have a biggest fear, but I don’t like snakes.

My least favourite food: I don’t like tomatoes. It’s a mood food. Sometimes I really like it and sometimes I don’t.

My top three cooking tips: Give it a try. Don’t stress if it doesn’t work the first time and keep trying.

To find out more about Temora Deli and Sandwich Bar contact Craig Harpley on (02) 6977 2603.

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