Monday 20 January 2020

Top Leinster cafe award for Teapot

Tina Gaffney Saridakis, owner and chef and Sylvia Gaffney, chef
Tina Gaffney Saridakis, owner and chef and Sylvia Gaffney, chef

A sign hanging in the snug of the Cracked Teapot cafe in New Ross reads: 'Tea is a hug in a cup' and it was welcoming touches like this, along with the quality of the food, that scooped the best cafe in Leinster award for the family run business.

Owned by Tina Gaffney Saridakis, The Cracked Teapot opened its doors in 2017 and quickly became a hit with foodies in New Ross. Located on Quay Street just up from O'Hanrahan Bridge, the charming cafe, with its low lighting, soothing, soulful music and friendly staff, serves up a variety of grub, from vegetarian offerings (Tina herself is a vegetarian), to hearty stew, soups and salads - all homemade.

Customers nominated the cafe for an award and two Yes Chef judges visited the cafe on a busy Saturday and left blown away by their experience. Owning a cafe has always been a dream of Tina's. Having learned cooking and baking in her late teens and twenties in Italy and Greece, Tina always dreamed of opening her own cafe. 'I went to Europe when I was 17. That is where I started working in restaurants, in kitchens, cleaning pots and pans and bit by but I learned cooking. At the time you could come in to a restaurant or hotel and learn all about it. I went to Greece and used to go into old women's kitchens and learn how to cook delicious food using only a handful of ingredients. I think the thing about food is not to overcomplicate it and keep it as local and as natural as possible. We do everything we possibly can here. We have a great little team: my staff are gold.'

She returned to open Acropolis, a Mediterranean cafe on Anne Street in Wexford. After several years she closed the business to devote herself to raising her three children, two of whom have been known to help out with the serving at The Cracked Teapot.

She was then co-owner of Bolg Buí pub on Mary Street for many years.

'My dream was to get back in and open a cafe as I previously worked in a lot of evening restaurants. I have wanted to do this for a long time but said I would wait until my children were reared.'

At The Cracked Teapot Tina cooks and bakes, working long days. 'You would only work like this if you loved what you were doing and if you are totally mad hence the name of my business, Cracked Teapot. I went out on a limb when I opened and said I would try it and do my best and if I fail I will fail doing my best and if I succeed I will succeed doing my best.'

Employing up to ten staff between full and part-time, Tina said she likes to make her customers feel relaxed with music playing in the background, serving them excellent teas and coffees served in china teacups, and home baked goods. 'I try to tickle everybody's taste-buds and to keep it as healthy as possible. The town is small so people need to have a choice.'

She said she was delighted with the award. 'Both I and the whole team were absolutely delighted to win the award because everybody works very hard.'

Wexford People

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