17 November 2023

Five minutes with Stacey Maynard, ToMorrows Cafe

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Stacey Maynard

Stacey Maynard, the owner of ToMorrows Cafe. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Who is Stacey Maynard: I was born in Wagga and have only ever moved as far as Albury. I am a chef and have worked in kitchens since I was about 15 to 16 years old. We bought this business in July 2014. Now I do a bit of everything: cooking, waitressing and making coffee. [I opened the cafe] because after working nights and weekends it allowed me to work during the day and spend more time with my kids, which was probably the greatest attraction to it. And I also love the building.

[After running the cafe for more than nine years, I have noticed] coffee has become huge. It is a lot more popular and part of everyone’s day-to-day life. So we tend to see the same faces every morning for their coffee. As for the changes, this area of town has become more popular. The upgrade of the river, walking path, and the art gallery has brought many more people in.

Best recent dining experience: Probably Thaigga. We’ve also had our Christmas parties there, and I feel like you’re never disappointed when you go there. It’s always consistently good.

Favourite cuisine: Definitely Thai. My favourite dish is pad-thai, which is a little bit spicy.

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What ingredient can I not live without: I can’t live without salmon. I love grilled salmon and could live on that for the rest of my life.

Most embarrassing pantry item: We go through so much Nutella it’s ridiculous, and it’s not even the kids’.

How many Weet-Bix do I do: I used to have one or two when I was little, and I think I enjoyed it, but I don’t like them anymore.

Best coffee spot in Wagga: That would be us – ToMorrows Cafe!

Favourite coffee: A flat white.

ToMorrow's Cafe sweet jars

All the delicious goodies are freshly made in the cafe. Photo: ToMorrows Cafe.

What’s your coffee blend: Hombre from The Blessed Bean Coffee Roasters. They used to be locally based in Wagga but are now in Wodonga.

What’s the weirdest coffee order you’ve received: A new one called ‘the magic’. It’s come from nowhere, and I’d never heard of it. We get a lot of quarter-strength decaf with four sugars, but it’s not uncommon anymore. Sometimes, people ask, ‘We want 65 degrees, not hotter or colder’. It is around 65 degrees Celsius anyway.

Next big thing in the Wagga food scene: All of the events we’re having, like Fusion [Botanical], are taking off. Everyone wants to try food from other countries and cultures, something they haven’t had before and something unique. Wagga seems to be heading towards that direction. When Fusion first started, it was on the main street a couple of years ago, but it’s gotten so big now that it’s moved to the Botanic Gardens with hundreds of people. The big attraction is trying something you’ve never had before, and it’s not generic.

Favourite place to lunch in Wagga: Jardine’s Cafe is fantastic. They are consistent and always good.

Chicken schnitzel and bacon wrap

The chicken schnitzel and bacon wrap with hot chips is a must-try at ToMorrows Cafe. Photo: ToMorrows Cafe.

A must-try on our menu: The alpha Turkish bread with chicken, avocado, mayo, tomato and cheese toasted. We serve more alpha Turkish bread than anything else on the menu because it’s popular. And my son loves it.

Most used ingredient at ToMorrows Cafe: Coffee, for sure!

Our top pick from our desserts: The lemon slice. We make everything on site.

My biggest culinary influence: All the previous local chefs that I have worked with, and there have been some good ones. I’ve worked with two chefs who own a local catering business (Marbull Catering) in Wagga and have gone to the London Olympics. I’ve worked with Brian, the head chef at the Riverina Hotel.

Favourite cookbook: Anything Donna Hay. I like sweets and find the techniques to make desserts more interesting.

Chicken wombok and quinoa salad

Chicken wombok and quinoa salad. Photo: ToMorrows Cafe.

Who I admire in the Wagga food and wine scene: Jess and Sam from Marbull Catering. I’ve seen them do so much. I met them when they were apprentices. They are constantly learning and doing new things. Jess also used to be a head chef at the Thirsty Crow.

What are this week’s specials at ToMorrows Cafe: We have daily specials. We have quiche every single day, but it does change. We also do chicken schnitzel bacon wrap with hot chips on Wednesdays and Thursdays. We do sandwiches, wraps and salads in summer and soup in winter. A lot of people are disappointed when the soup season is over.

Death row meal: Grilled Atlantic salmon with hot chips and coffee. Something very simple.

Where am I travelling to next: We plan to take my two children to Hong Kong in the next few years. My brother lives there and just came to visit us, and we haven’t seen him since before COVID. It was a good catch-up, and he asked us to visit in the next couple of years.

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Dream destination: Fiji, Hawaii and the Bahamas. Somewhere with ocean and nice weather.

My biggest fear: My biggest fear is heights. I fear falling, and if I’m up high on a ladder, I picture myself falling.

My least favourite food: Many vegetables, especially peas. My kids love vegetables, luckily.

My top three cooking tips: Keep things simple and don’t overcomplicate them. Keep trying and practise, even if you fail a few times. Always taste what you’re cooking.

ToMorrows Cafe is located inside the Wagga Wagga Civic Centre on Baylis Street and Morrow Street and is open from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 3 pm.

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