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September 18, 2017

Introducing the Local Mess Hall

A new food event that will bring emerging entrepreneurs together with industry veterans like Karena Armstrong, David Swain, Jonny Pisanelli, and Steven ter Horst.

  • Picture: Nick Astanei

Tasha Ugrinic and Mike Mattler come from very different worlds – Mike works in big business and Tasha in design – but food is their first passion.

“It’s how you show love,” says Tasha. “For us, food and lots of people together – it’s just what we do.”


The Local Mess Hall are currently calling for applications from emerging entrepreneurs who would like to be involved in the event. See the website for more details. Applications close this Friday – September 22.

Mike and Tasha are also organising a Scavenger Hunt for October 7 that will take punters to some of Adelaide’s most interesting businesses and spots. Find out more here.

The couple are formalising their interest in food by launching their first venture together. Called The Local Mess Hall, the initiative will be both an incubator for food entrepreneurs and a public event that showcases new food businesses to South Australians.

Tasha and Mike are currently calling for applications from people with a new food business idea. Those that are selected to be part of The Local Mess Hall will then be supported to set up for a variety of trade days, educational days, and open to the public selling days at the Queen’s Theatre between November 17 and 26.

“It’s an opportunity for young guns to get their foot in the door in an extremely public and curated way,” says Mike.

By offering a chance for businesses to experiment with early trade without the high risk of having to sign a lease or spend on marketing to attract customers, The Local Mess Hall echoes the model of some food truck parks found throughout the United States.

But Tasha and Mike are adding an extra element to that framework. Entrepreneurs taking part in Local Mess Hall will also be mentored by people who are already established in the South Australian hospitality industry. These mentors include Fino’s David Swain, The Salopian Inn’s Karena Armstrong, Jonny Pisanelli of Abotts and Kinney, and chocolatier Steven ter Horst.  

The pair hope providing this support will enable those who launch at the Mess Hall event to build their momentum into something more permanent.

“The types of mentor partners we want for that are essentially restaurants that are already established that want to drive interest in using native, local, sustainable,” says Tasha.

Those three ideas of native, local, and sustainable produce will run through every aspect of the food side of the Local Mess Hall – with Tasha and Mike keen to make sure each business that takes part is treading lightly in an environmental sense.

But another core value for The Local Mess Hall will be good design. The experience inside Queen’s Theatre will be created by Enoki – a design firm Tasha has had a long relationship with through her previous work as SA manager of high-end furniture retailer Stylecraft.

For Enoki’s Meaghan Williams, design and food are natural partners.

“I think in Adelaide, everything is about word of mouth and design is such a talking point,” says Meaghan. “Design just adds an extra layer of people fully appreciating the environment and getting a fuller feel for the space.”

This November, South Australia will be getting a feel for a new vision in the Queen’s Theatre, and a taste of some new food ideas too.

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