After two successful editions in Melbourne, Grow Assembly – a symposium and community event for hospitality professionals – will land in Sydney for the very first time this Sunday 6 May.
For Grow Sydney, the four founders of Grow Assembly – Michael Bascetta, Meira Harel, Vicky Symington and Banjo Harris Plane – have teamed up with Momofuko Seiobo’s Kylie Javier Ashton to put together a day of talks focused on the theme of Change in the hospitality industry.
“Grow in Sydney is focused on ‘Change’,” Ashton told BARS&clubs. “That’s changes within a business, how our industry is changing, and the changes in legislation – and how that effects bars in particular.”
The day will be split into three sessions focusing on different aspects of hospitality; the panel of four bar industry speakers includes Luke Ashton (This Must Be The Place), Paige Aubort (Coleman’s Academy), Harriet Leigh (Archie Rose) and Evelyn Liong (Lee Ho Fook).
Other top hospitality brass speaking at Grow include restaurant industry leaders Neil Perry (The Rockpool Group), Mitch Orr (ACME), and Bernice Colcomb (The Star), as well as Dr Irina Santiago-Brown – a sustainability focused winegrape grower and consultant – and Joanna Savill, longtime food journalist and editor of The SMH Good Food Guide.
“Generally in terms of events they tend to focus on just restaurants or just bars or just wine, but we’re aiming to bring all the different elements together,” Ashton explained.
“I think it’s really important for bar people to have a handle on what’s going on in other parts of the industry – the food world sets a lot of the trends for what happens in the rest of the industry.
“For example, wine’s becoming a bigger part of the bar scene – it was very focused on spirits for a long time, and I think that owners and operators are now getting savvy and saying ‘hey, we’re really missing out on a large portion of what our beverage offering is.’”
Ashton added: “I went to Grow in Melbourne for the first two years as an attendee and I found it really inspiring, but also found that the content was really centered around Melbourne. It made me quite envious seeing the community come together, talking about issues that are relevant to them.
“So to bring it to Sydney, we could give it a new sort of flavour as well because the Sydney scene is quite different to Melbourne – and there was definitely a need there.
“We’re always saying that we want to advocate for our industry to be taken more seriously, and particularly for bartenders, really investing in yourself is what Grow is all about.”
Held at Balmain Town Hall, tickets ($130) include nine talks; morning tea, lunch and coffee by Mecca, and a Grow Assembly tote bag with SoL Cup and Perfect South Tea.