Captain Baxter is St Kilda’s beachside cocktail and lounge bar offering uninterrupted views of Port Philip Bay.
With successful St Kilda restaurants Republica and Encore under his belt, Co-Owner and Executive Chef Matt Dawson has taken inspiration from all corners of the globe at Captain Baxter, offering an interesting and eclectic menu that is seasonal and designed to be shared.
“In summer we get absolutely smashed,” said Matt. “Republica will serve anywhere between 2000-3000 items of food. Upstairs at Captain Baxter is more probably around the 800-1000 meals over the weekend, and we usually have a few events on at Encore so anywhere between 50 people to 300 people per event.”
Over the years Matt has worked closely with Comcater Area Sales Manager Craig Lategan to install commercial kitchen equipment that supports the busy venues’ growing and changing needs. Matt has handpicked the equipment to better streamline kitchen operations and free up valuable time for chefs so they can fulfil such large numbers of covers. One of the key changes to the kicthen operations has been the use of the PureVac Premier 1635 Vacuum Packaging unit.
“Since purchasing our PureVac Vacuum Packaging Machine, we have significantly reduced our operating costs by pre-preparing the individual components of our dishes for later use. Service times are now much quicker and we have also been able to free up space in our once overcrowded cool-room for a safe and HACCP-compliant kitchen.”
“As much as we are dedicated to making everything ourselves, we are also passionate about sourcing only the highest quality and locally sourced produce. This can be a costly and we were keen to find ways to protect our investment. The PureVac Vacuum Packing Machine really locks in the taste, colour and aroma of the produce. Quality is never sacrificed.”
The current kitchen set up also includes multiple RATIONAL SCC and VCC units, Frymaster built in filtration fryer suites, Tecnomac blast chillers, Garland 4 burners, Comenda dishwashers in addition to a new Mibrasa charcoal oven.
“The aroma that comes from the oven is amazing,” Matt says of his newly installed Mibrasa. “I think it will be more engaging for chefs as well, it is going to be great for them to have something new to use. If you’ve been cooking for 10 to 20 years you end up doing the same thing time after time therefore I think this will bring a new element and the chefs will really get a lot out of it.”
“The RATIONAL VCC is just brilliant, we’ve got the two 25L operating side by side – it dramatically speeds up the process,” said Matt. “It means we have less chefs standing around waiting for things to boil or to drain. We also have quite a few RATIONAL SCC units and they are very automatic, it’s great! We can pretty much walk in press a few buttons and everything starts working, we can get onto prepping and then come back and manage things quickly.”
“I have always worked with Frymaster deep fryers, and we have seven of them throughout the kitchen here. They all have built in filtration to help with the cleaning. Chefs hate cleaning out the fryer; it’s a terrible job at the end of the day. The oil quality is better which results in better tasting food and saves on oil costs in the long run,” said Matt.