23 February 2024

Five minutes with Rachel Dolan, Brew at 102 Cafe

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Jo-Ann Gerhard and Rachel Dolan

Brew at 102 Cafe owner (right) Rachel Dolan with her second in charge Jo-Ann Gerhard. Photo: Brew at 102 Cafe.

Who is Rachel: I was born in Canberra and I joined the Air Force at 21. After the initial training in Adelaide, I was posted to Wagga Wagga, where I met and married my husband. Twenty-nine years later, we have been fortunate to have travelled and lived in most states across Australia. Once I left the Air Force, I worked in different schools, depending on where we were posted, as a Defence school mentor and/or school learning support officer.

Our youngest daughter worked at the cafe [Brew at 102 Cafe] for the previous owner, and she mentioned it was selling. So we thought we would give small business a go as we didn’t want to see it be closed for good because it had been a cafe for the past 75 to 80 years. This is our third year of ownership and loving it so far.

Best recent dining experience: I don’t get out much these days. However, we did visit The Tandoori Tavern in Wagga. Delicious and the best butter chicken in town.

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Favourite cuisine: Indian or Italian. I love pasta.

What ingredient can I not live without: Butter. I love butter and everything tastes so much better with it and garlic – same rules as butter. Everything tastes better with garlic and pasta.

Most embarrassing pantry/fridge item: Promite. My husband loves the stuff.

Brew at 102's steak sandwich is one of the must-tries.

Brew at 102’s steak sandwich is one of the must-tries. Photo: Brew at 102.

Best coffee spot in Junee: Me of course, Brew at 102!

Favourite coffee: Caramel latte.

What’s your coffee blend: Our coffee blend is caramel, hazelnut, blackcurrant and milk chocolate.

What’s the weirdest coffee order you’ve received: Latte, one point five shots of coffee, half skim milk, half full cream milk, three-quarters full and exactly 70 degrees.

Brew at 102's coffee blend is caramel, hazelnut, blackcurrant and milk chocolate.

Brew at 102’s coffee blend is caramel, hazelnut, blackcurrant and milk chocolate. Photo: Brew at 102.

Next big thing in the Junee food scene: I think we are covered with our great cafes and pubs.

Favourite place to lunch in Junee: Me again, of course, or one of our amazing pubs. We have four to choose from who all do fabulous food. We are extremely lucky and spoilt for choice.

A must-try on our menu: Hmm, another tricky question. There are a few favourites. Our steak sandwich. Everyone loves it, the loaded fries and the chicken caesar salad. Very popular! And pancakes, can’t forget the pancakes.

The must-try for breakfast is the pancakes.

The must-try for breakfast is the pancakes. Photo: Brew at 102.

Most used ingredient at Brew at 102: Coffee and milk without a doubt, followed closely behind by bacon, eggs, chicken schnitzels and chips.

Our top pick from our desserts: My custard tarts and the raspberry and white chocolate muffins seem to be a hit.

My biggest culinary influence: TV – dare I say that. All the cooking shows show different styles of cooking, techniques and ingredients.

Rachel says the loaded fries are popular with her customers.

Rachel says the loaded fries are popular with her customers. Photo: Brew at 102.

Favourite cookbook: All of Jamie Oliver’s books. A very talented man.

Who I admire in the Junee food and wine scene: All of the small business owners, as it is a massive job to run your own business and show up every day to improve the lives of our loyal, local customers and our travellers alike when we see them.

What are this week’s specials at Brew at 102: Raspberry and white chocolate muffins and our range of fresh grab-and-go salads.


Region has tried the summer smoothie and recommends it to all smoothie lovers. Photo: Brew at 102.

Death row meal: Chicken with garlic naan or carbonara. Or maybe both.

Where am I travelling to next: We’re going to the coast at Easter for a family getaway. It’s been a while since having one.

Dream destination: Canada/Alaska. I hate the cold weather; however, I would love to see this destination in winter. It looks amazing.

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My biggest fear: The ocean. It is so vast and deep, and there are many creatures with big teeth, and snakes also have big teeth.

My least favourite food: Anchovies, unless in a sauce where they cannot be tasted.

My top three cooking tips: Use butter. Look at the presentation and put your love into each dish.

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