Foundation Café and Espresso Bar

He Hononga | Connection, Ground Level and Hapori | Community, Level 1, Tūranga

Foundation Café, Ground Level

Monday to Friday 7am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday 8.30am to 5pm

Espresso Bar, Level 1

Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm
Saturday and Sunday 10am to 3pm

Interview in the Tūranga issue of uncover - huraina

Ruth Trevella and Amanda Heasley are the busy culinary brains behind Tūranga’s Foundation café. We managed to catch up with Ruth for a quick Q&A.

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

Both Amanda and I have spent our whole lives in hospitality. We both did our chef training at CPIT (now Ara), and in our 20s spent time overseas working and travelling.

Mandy opened The Globe in Christchurch in the early 90s, and from there continued on with The Power House (Hanmer), Mondo, and Under The Red Verandah.

After returning from the UK, where I worked at a catering company and also for Wallpaper Magazine, I started my own company in Christchurch called The Catering Belle.

Mandy and I have gotten to know each other through our 16-year-old daughters being best friends.

We went on a food tour of Auckland a few years back and realised we share a similar passion for food and hospitality. We decided to collaborate and create a project together because we have so much in common.

How did you get into the culinary industry?

My dad had a friend who owned The Dainty Inn, on High Street. He used to let me work in the kitchen occasionally and I was captivated by it. It was a fast, buzzing environment and I loved the efficiency of it. The orders were flown through the air on a flying-fox contraption up to the kitchen. It was an old-school tearoom that mastered the classics: club sandwiches,
sausage rolls, malt milkshakes, and knickerbocker glories. It was a total institution in its time.

Eventually I got a job when I was 14 and I worked there until I left school.

I later worked at Tregattis, Pedro’s, In Italia, to name a few well-known Christchurch places. I was naturally drawn to the buzz of hospitality and always sought part-time work in cafés and restaurants as time went on. I never thought of it as being a career option until I’d finished at university and was still unsure what path I wanted to take. By this stage I had developed a love and passion for cooking and it seemed a natural step for me to take.

How did you come up with the name 'Foundation' for the café?

We laboured for a long time over the name. It was important to us to get it right, as we felt like it needed to encapsulate the importance of where it is, what it is, and what it can be for
Christchurch.

We extended the request for help to our friends and created a deadline while 20 of us were tramping together on the Kepler Track. By the end of the tramp we had to have a name!

It was a massive list of names which took a long time to whittle down, but once we came across Foundation, it felt really right.

Once the library opens, our city will really be moving in the right direction and our library and café will offer a real foundation for the city and Square to move forward.

What sorts of exciting things do you have planned for the café?

We want the café to become a foodie destination. As Cantabrians, we want to create a café space that the people of our city will be proud of and want to share with visitors.

Can you offer a sneak peek of one or two menu items?

We will offer our amazing baked treats – custard doughnuts, brioche muffins and scones.

We are loving our kimchi pancakes with pork, fried egg and gochijung – so tasty and a real flavour kick!

We also want to offer great versions of our favourites, such as Mandy’s classic “Eggspresso” (from The Globe days) but with miso lime hollandaise.

What's the inspiration behind the food?

Showcasing produce from the area, reflecting our history and food traditions, and including the delicious influences from immigrants to the city.

What's your trustiest kitchen utensil, and why?

I am a zest lover and want to add zest to almost everything I make, so it would have to be a micro plane – such an efficient way to maximise the zest from any citrus.

What are you looking forward to most about Tūranga's opening?

Offering great food, connecting with our community, and exploring an incredible new facility we can all enjoy.

Favourite book, magazine and music artist?

Book: I am loving Anna Jones The Modern Cook's Year. 

The Modern Cook's Year

Magazine: Would have to be Cuisine.

Cuisine

Music: Nina Simone, Nadia Reid, Beach House.

Favourite food/meal, and why?

It would have to be eggplant parmigiana. It's so simple and tasty and all you need to go with it is a good salad, some crusty bread, and a glass of red.