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A Day In The Life Of Dom Gattermayr, Co-Owner of Our Favourite New Cafe, Florian

A Day In The Life

In theory, opening a new cafe in March of 2021 might seem like a terrible idea. But against all odds Florian, the Carlton eatery opened by childhood besties Dom Gattermayr and Rose Richards, has flourished.

Less than 6 months after opening, Florian has well and truly become a neighbourhood favourite, with a real community feel. But of course – this didn’t happen by accident! Dom and Rose have been working tirelessly behind-the-scenes, steering Florian through a staccato year of lockdowns and lunch service. Their small cafe is doing big things!

Growing up with a Mum and Dad who owned and ran many successful restaurants and cafes, you could say that Dom was built for the hospo life. Although she didn’t always think that!

We spent a day with Dom to find out what it’s like on the other side of Melbourne’s fave new cafe.

PS. Full disclosure, if you recognise Dom’s last name, it might be because Dom is our Junior Editor Sasha’s little sister!

13th August, 2021

Dom at home in Fitzroy North smashing out some invoices before work. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Heading out to Florian. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Working on the admin side of Florian. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Florian is located on tree-lined Rathdowne Street, Carlton, but feels like it could be in Europe! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Arranging flowers at Florian. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Dom and her childhood bestie/co-owner Rose Richards opened Florian in March, 2021. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Prepping food for service. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

As one of the co-owners, Dom is works across all areas of the business – from managing rosters to serving coffees! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

There’s a real neighbourhood vibe at Florian! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Fresh daily pastries come from Austro, Dom’s mum Sally’s bakery in South Melbourne. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The Florian interiors have a real Euro vibe. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Dom likes to hang out with whoever’s closing at the end of service. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Sally Tabart
Friday 13th August 2021

In a city that has at times been oversaturated with places to eat, Florian feels like the place you’ve been searching for: friendly, uncomplicated and earnest in every way.

Dom Gattermayr comes from a family of hospo legends. The co-owner and chef at Carlton’s most-loved new cafe, Florian, was raised with her sister in the venues owned by her Mum and Dad. ‘We used to live above my parent’s first cafe in South Melbourne. I remember being given the all important jobs of peeling the stickers off the oranges and stamping bags’, reflects Dom. ‘My sister and I used to slide down the bannister and run into the cafe from the back door for babycinos’.

Despite this illustrious introduction to the hospitality industry at an early age, Dom was adamant that she wouldn’t follow in her parents’ footsteps. ‘For no reason whatsoever, I just thought it wasn’t for me’, she says. Dom went on to study public relations and spent some time working at an agency in Melbourne and New York before figuring out that life behind a desk wasn’t going to work for her. After watching her mum open her latest venture Austro, a fantastic bakery in South Melbourne, she realised that the challenge of opening a cafe of her own was something she wanted to pour all her energy and creativity into.

In March this year, Dom opened Florian, with her childhood friend Rose Richards. It has – to put it simply – popped off. With two talented girls in their mid twenties at its helm, Florian has become one of Melbourne’s favourite new eateries pretty much overnight. In a city that has at times been oversaturated with places to eat, Florian feels like the place you’ve been searching for: friendly, uncomplicated and earnest in every way.

Nestled into the strip of shops and cafes on tree lined Rathdowne street, Florian looks and feels like it could easily be a locals’ haunt somewhere in Europe. ‘The building itself leans into a French bistro or Italian espresso bar direction’, says Dom. ‘Our small menu starts with breakfast or a pastry and coffee at the bar. At lunch time the menu changes and offers a seasonal pasta and fish dish, plus lots of salads and sandwiches piled in the window for takeaway or dine in.’

As one of the co-owners of such a successful new venture, Dom’s got her fingers in all of the Florian pies. On any given day you’ll find her poaching eggs in the kitchen, taking orders from across the bar, paying invoices or managing the roster for her small team. Her days start pretty early and are ‘go-go-go’, but that’s just the way she likes it!

First Thing

I wake up 6:30, even if I’m not working I find it hard to sleep in. The first thing I do every morning is have a coffee and check my emails. On a working day I pay invoices, check orders, look at rosters and get going to work. It’s pretty go, go, go once I get to Florian so I try to get some admin done when I can.

I definitely struggle with the initial rolling out of bed process but once I’m up I am productive in the mornings. I love to get started with my day and tick jobs off nice and early.

Morning

I start work at 7am, and would normally ride my bike in summer and drive in winter drive, although I’m trying to get out of the habit of driving…

Our kitchen set up takes a good half hour, and then most days we are straight into service. I like to check in with everyone front of house and take a quick look at the set-up to see what pastries and cakes were delivered that day. Finding a good playlist to get us started for the day is a nice morning ritual.

Lunchtime

It’s tricky to stop for lunch in the kitchen when service doesn’t really stop, but I try and sit down outside for a quick bite most days. I normally eat a bowl of salad with some salmon gravlax on the side because it’s my absolute favourite. At the moment we have an eggplant salad with lime pickle and yoghurt dressing, which is my go-to.

Afternoon

Afternoons generally give us an idea of what our next day is going to look like. The staff have a little debrief while we finish up, write our prep lists for what needs to happen the next day, place orders, replenish our sections and pack down.

I definitely feel energised in the afternoon! If it’s a nice day I’ll always try to go for an after work walk and buy some ingredients for dinner or go for a knock-off wine with whoever’s closing at work.

Evening

I’m done in the kitchen around 3:30pm and then I finish around 4:30pm when we close the shop doors for the day. Believe it or not I cook to unwind, it really helps me to relax.  I love getting home and starting to cook while I chat to my housemates about our days. I cook a lot of fish at home and we have access to some great produce from Clamms through Florian. For dinner tonight I’m making tuna sashimi with spring onion and ginger oil, spinach and sesame salad and some rice.

My ‘switch off’ time is sitting on the couch and do some knitting while watching some trashy TV, specifically Survivor.  I also do an occasional yoga class!

Last Thing

I usually go to sleep around 10:30pm. I think I could get more sleep than I do, but I also love being busy and you can’t have it all!

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Dom looking extremely cute outside Florian! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

The branding for Florian was done by designer Gemma Leslie. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

After work Dom will often head to Public Wine Shop, around the corner from her sharehouse in Fitzroy North. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Small biz supporting small biz. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Knock offs at Public Wine Shop. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Right now I’m listening to, watching, and reading…

I’m listening to Lynda Dawn’s album At First Light, I’ve just started watching ‘This Way Up’, reading Second Place by Rachel Cusk.

Some other local businesses I’m loving are…

Bush Flowers, Public Wine Shop, Senserrick Green Grocer, Tochi Japanese Deli.

I get my best work done when…

Something inspires me. I love a long chat about ideas with my Mum, colleagues or friends, and often put these ideas directly into action. The research and testing part of any work I do is something I enjoy and I don’t love sitting on an idea for too long!

My productivity tool/tip is…

Make lists, cross tasks off and leave room for doing things you enjoy in-between, in particular eating somewhere fun for lunch if it’s a busy day of boring tasks.

A philosophy I live and work by is…

If something seems like a good idea, it generally is. This can work against me when I don’t think things through properly but it’s always a good creative tool for trying things, making mistakes and working out a solution. It’s also great motivation to just give things a go rather than thinking to much about it.

Something I’ve learned the hard way is… 

Things that seem easy to others are always the most difficult things. It can be really challenging when something you work really hard on is belittled by someone with comments like “I could have just made that at home”, but what it takes to actually put yourself out there and the work that goes on behind the scenes is often the most difficult part, not the product itself.

Florian
617 Rathdowne St
Carlton North, Victoria
Monday – Friday, 7.30am – 4pm
Saturday – Sunday, 8am – 4pm 

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First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net