Enjoying a slice of the good life in Dunkeld

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The family that cooks together… The Phillips family – from left, father Gary, Aleesha, Tryleen, mum Chris and Shantelle far right, are all involved in Dunkeld Delights.

By Carol Altmann

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #512D97;”]T[/dropcap]he colour purple has always been linked to royalty, so it is the perfect decor choice for a new family-run cafe that is fast becoming the king of sweet treats in Dunkeld.

Everything from the purple floor to the purple coffee cups, napkins, chairs and tongs gives an indication that Dunkeld Delights is a place with a sense of fun and that’s exactly what to expect when you drop in to what is a stylishly converted shed next to the Phillips family home in Williams St.

The Phillips family are an extraordinary group.

Not only do they get along well enough to share a house – with three of the four children having moved away and since returned – but they now all share in the family business of baking and making delicious goodies.

Until recently, Dunkeld Delights had been a regular on the local market scene, with mother, Chris, and daughter, Shantelle, making a name for themselves over the past eight years through the homestyle quality of the treats they produced in their home kitchen.

“We had the idea for a long time to do something like this (a cafe), but it was only last year that all of the pieces started to come together,” Shantelle explains.

The magnificent garden at the front of the Phillips’ family home, alongside which they have based their cafe that overlooks the grounds.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #512D97;”] O [/dropcap]ne of those pieces was the popularity of the Dunkeld Delights cookies and cakes at Cafe 109, also in Dunkeld, where Shantelle was working at the time and which stocked her cakes and slices.

“I started to think that maybe it was finally time to go out on our own and do our own cafe,” she said.

Another was the return home of sisters Aleesha and Tryleen (who is, as far as she knows, the only person named Tryleen in Australia), neither of whom were bakers, but who were prepared to learn.

Chris and Shantelle are the type of self-taught cooks who can make anything, so they quickly taught the pair the finer points of baking and each sister now has her own area of expertise (more about that in a moment).

The final piece of the puzzle was father, Gary, who had recently retired and was able to help out with the behind-the-scenes book-keeping and other business essentials.

There was only one sticking point.

“The shed that we hoped to use was absolutely full of junk – lawnmowers and all the usual stuff you find in a garage,” Chris recalls with a laugh.

The solution? Build another shed for all of the garage junk.

The home-made chicken and mushroom pie that actually smells like fresh mushrooms and tastes delicious.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #512D97;”] E [/dropcap]arlier this year the front shed was converted into a commercial kitchen, shopfront and small cafe, with an outdoor dining area that overlooks the Phillips’ magnificent garden. The cafe opened for business in August and has not looked back.

Indeed there is already talk of expanding the premises to allow for more seating and the self-contained room that son/brother Jayson uses on visits home may have to be sacrificed for that one!

The menu has also expanded to include a range of savoury items, including what might possibly be the best chicken-and-mushroom pie I have ever tasted.

“We all have our areas of expertise now,” says Chris, while identifying herself as the maker of the pie.

“Shantelle is the slice person, I am the big cakes and pies girl, Tryleen is biscuits and Aleesha makes a carrot cake to die for,” she laughs.

And who decided on the purple floor?

“It was meant to be grey and white, but when I saw it, I thought, boy that looks boring, and I kept looking at the purple thinking, ‘hmmmm,” Chris says.

“It is all a bit of fun and that’s how I wanted it. I want my kids to go to work every day and say, I am going to have the greatest day.”

Judging by the amount of laughter and happy banter during our visit, the purple is definitely working.

Shantelle, Gary, Tryleen and Aleesha with “natural cook”, Chris in front, out in the garden area of their new cafe that opened in Dunkeld in August.

[box]Dunkeld Delights is one of four cafes now operating in Dunkeld and can be found at 35 Williams St, off Victoria Valley Rd. Open 7 days from 9am-4pm. You can join them on Facebook here. The Discover Dunkeld Weekend is on from Oct 17-19: what a perfect time to visit the town. Full details here.[/box]

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