5 December 2023

Five minutes with Hayley Whiley, The Northshore Cafe

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
Start the conversation
Hayley Whiley

The owner of The Northshore Cafe, Hayley Whiley. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Who is Hayley Whiley: My name is Hayley Whiley (nee Crouch). I have lived in North Wagga for the majority of my life. I grew up in the hospitality industry and cooking became second nature to me. I started working as a waitress/kitchenhand at the Palm & Pawn, which kick-started my journey. I put myself through TAFE to become a chef because I wanted something to show for the years that I had already spent working in the industry and to see where it would take me. During TAFE, I competed in WorldSkills, which led me to compete nationally against 48 other apprentice chefs, placing fifth in the country.

I spent the next five years as head chef at The Sportsmens Hotel and eventually knew I was ready for a challenge, something to call my own. I took over the little corner cafe in North Wagga in June 2019 and watched my dream become a reality. It’s a bit of a full circle moment, owning a cafe that you grew up around in a community where everyone is there to support you.

Best recent dining experience: The Charles is one of our favourites.

READ ALSO Five minutes with Stacey Maynard, ToMorrows Cafe

Favourite cuisine: My favourite cuisine is Chinese.

What ingredient can I not live without: I can’t live without garlic and salt.

Most embarrassing pantry/fridge item: Two-minute noodles. After a long day cooking, the last thing you want to do when you get home is cook.

The best coffee spot in Wagga: The Northshore Cafe, and I enjoy breakfast at Mr Lawrence.

Salmon poke bowl

Salmon poke bowl. Photo: The Northshore Cafe.

Favourite coffee: Funnily enough, I highly dislike the taste and smell of coffee.

What’s your coffee blend: We use Buellers Blend from Merchant Coffee Roasters in Mansfield.

What’s the weirdest coffee order you’ve received: A decaf coffee with an extra shot of normal coffee.

A must-try on our menu: Our homemade sausage rolls are always a sellout from our cafe menu, and our southern fried chicken sliders from our catering menu.

Orange and poppy seed and double chocolate muffins

Freshly baked orange and poppy seed and double chocolate muffins. Photo: The Northshore Cafe.

The most used ingredient at The Northshore Cafe: Would have to be either Bacon or butter.

Our top pick from our desserts: The Mars bar slices are delightful!

My biggest culinary influence: Matt Moran was a major influence in the early days of becoming a chef. I was lucky enough to meet him and be offered work at one of his restaurants. As a female chef in a male-dominated industry at the time, it was inspiring to be acknowledged by someone who could see potential in me.

Food platter

The Northshore Cafe also offers catering services. Photo: The Northshore Cafe.

Favourite cookbook: The Cooks Companion by Stephanie Alexander.

Who I admire in the Wagga food and wine scene: Everyone in the industry at the moment is doing a great job. The past few years have been extremely tough on businesses, with COVID, staff shortages and the cost of living. So, to still have the doors open and run a successful business is pretty amazing.

What are this week’s specials at The Northshore Cafe: We will be doing different specials each day for December until we close – keep an eye on our socials.

Sausage rolls

The sausage rolls are a must-try on the menu. Photo: The Northshore Cafe.

Death row meal: Surf n turf – scotch fillet with garlic prawns, chips and broccoli and a side of gravy. I have clearly thought a lot about this.

Where am I travelling to next: Hopefully we can fit an overseas getaway in for next year – but for now just little getaways to refresh.

Dream destination: I would love to go to Nashville.

READ ALSO Five minutes with Jess and Samuel Martin, Marbull Catering

My biggest fear: My biggest fear is failure.

My least favourite food: My least favourite food is avocado.

My top three cooking tips: Be prepared, clean as you go and taste.

The Northshore Cafe is open from Monday to Friday 5:30 am to 4:30 pm, Saturday 7 am to 2 pm, and is located at 30 Hampden Avenue, North Wagga.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Riverina news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riverina stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.