When ex-engineer Robert Caslick decided to pull his barbecue out of his garden in Kings Cross and start serving free food to the homeless, his aim was simply to provide a bit of happiness.
These backyard barbecues quickly became Sydney’s first organic soup kitchen, and are now Two Good Co, a multi-faceted social enterprise working to support women at risk of domestic violence and homelessness. It is known for its buy-and-give salads and soups. For every meal purchased, Two Good Co donates another to a local women’s shelter. But he’s also launched a cookbook and self-care products, and trains at-risk women with the skills they need to work in hospitality, including his own restaurant branch.
Today, Two Good Co has moved on again and opened its first café, a bronze-adorned space in a newly renovated, heritage-listed former church. It serves its signature soups and salads, as well as monthly specials from some of Australia’s best-known chefs. As always, proceeds are used to further Two Good’s mission to empower at-risk women.
Two Good Co’s cafe is one of many social impact businesses found at Yirranma Place, a new center founded by the Paul Ramsay Foundation, a philanthropic organization that works to break cycles of disadvantage. The historic building has undergone a major renovation by the architectural firm SJB. The cafe’s sandstone walls are complemented by marble countertops and copper fixtures, the drinks menu is listed on a wooden sign, and a wide metal column stacked with freshly baked cakes, pies and tarts takes center stage. the room.
The kitchen, helmed by Heather Cook, continues Two Good’s legacy of working with some of the world’s most renowned chefs (Nigella Lawson and Yotam Ottolenghi are former collaborators), with monthly toasts, salads and baked goods from Australia’s finest cooks and restaurateurs. The June and July specials come from Darren Robertson (chef and co-owner of Three Blue Ducks) and include a cauliflower and cheese toastie; a salad of Italian sausages, pears, lentils and watercress; and a chocolate cookie. Cookbook author Belinda Jeffery will contribute recipes in August, and Aria’s Matt Moran will help curate the September menu.
Along with partnerships with celebrities and a few basic employees, the team is made up of graduates of Two Good Co’s Work Work program. It trains women at risk of homelessness in welcoming skills, provides them with a supportive community and employs them in roles above the grant rate.
“We’ve always viewed cooking as a way to help women feel creatively and financially empowered, but our graduates have such diverse skill sets – we want to provide them with the skills and access to roles that will help them thrive,” Jo Rosenberg, food operations manager for Two Good Co, says Large format.
The café serves coffee from the social enterprise Kua, and cookbooks, gifts and candles from Two Good (designed in partnership with Maison Balzac) are also sold on site.
Several beautiful works of art have also been commissioned for Yirranma Place. The tall sandstone columns at the front are flanked by steel doors designed by former Badger Bates of Barkandji in collaboration with artisan blacksmith Matt Mewburn, and the ceiling above the entrance is painted with a painting intricate mural on the history of Dreamtime. A striking colorful rug designed specifically for the space by Naja Utzon Popov (granddaughter of opera house architect Jørn Utzon) dominates the expansive entrance hall, which currently also houses an exhibition featuring works by Aboriginal artists .
Two good coffees
Yirranma Square, 262 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst
Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.