Camberwell Girls’ cafe culture


Camberwell Girls Grammar School partners with a top Melbourne chef to transform the concept of the school canteen.

Camberwell Girls Grammar School has partnered with one of Melbourne’s top executive chefs to manage the school’s canteen and corporate catering. Principal Debbie Dunwoody wanted a company that could provide a greater offering to the Camberwell Girls Grammar School community and in 2016, the school partnered with executive chef Dan Kranjcic, who is the brains behind Pinwheel & Co, a company on a mission to transform school catering in Melbourne.

“Pinwheel & Co has set out to raise the bar of food being served to Melbourne school students,” says Debbie. “As a school, we strive to provide the best for our students, staff and families, so partnering with Pinwheel & Co made a lot of sense.”

After 20 years working all over the world in fine-dining restaurants and cooking for some of the world’s most prominent business people and celebrities, Dan has returned to school (literally) with the launch of Pinwheel & Co.

Dan says he wanted to bring a true Melbourne food experience inside the school gates. “Melbourne is the food capital of Australia,” says Dan. “We are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining and our streets are lined with great venues, all providing quality food and an atmosphere to suit. However, this culture does not exist within schools and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t. That’s what I want to change.”

Debbie confirms that the concept has certainly been very well received by the lucky students at Camberwell Girls Grammar. “Over the Christmas break, Pinwheel & Co transformed our cafe,” she says. “It has basically become the hub of our school — a place where students, staff and parents all meet. It is helping to connect our community.”

Pinwheel & Co literally turns the typical “school tuckshop” concept on its head. Think a full-time barista serving coffee and hot drinks how you like, as well as breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner services.

From the branding to the on-trend uniforms, the custom food packaging to the ever-changing countertop displays, nothing says “school” about a Pinwheel & Co cafe. “Everything is prepared fresh on-site, the menu changes seasonally and I incorporate a number of daily specials as people need variety,” says Dan.

Pinwheel & Co doesn’t stop when the school bell rings at the end of the day either. “People are busy and life gets in the way sometimes, so I also provide a take-home dinner service for staff and families,” says Dan.

While Dan has cooked for Kim Kardashian, Pierce Brosnan, Hilary Clinton, Mark Webber, Gwen Stefani and Colin Powell to name a few, he says this new venture is certainly just as rewarding. “I’m having a lot of fun and the concept has been well received,” says Dan. “I look forward to partnering with additional schools … it’s so important that we look after the world’s future.”

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