Tips & Advice

Q&A with Richard Moffatt, Co-Owner Meccanico Food + Wine and Pastorale

This week we had a chat with restaurateur and loyal Goodrop Customer Richard Moffatt. Join us through our Q&A as we discuss his journey to hospitality, the significance of the Riverina Region, the importance of premium ingredients and products and the industry post-pandemic.

How did your journey in hospitality begin?

Prior to my current career (Co-Owner of Meccanico Food + Wine and Pastorale in Wagga Wagga), I was a professional cyclist. Part of my cycling career with the Australian Cycling Team, was to relocate to the North of Italy for four years. Whilst our days were filled with a decent amount of training and our key focus was to improve our performance, we also had the privilege of experiencing the Italian culture. Over the four years my love for Italian food and wine grew immensely. I was blown away by the simplicity of ingredients and the complexity of flavours they could develop. Upon my return to Wagga Wagga, NSW, I was inspired to begin a new venture and retired from my cycling career. The result? Meccanico Food + Wine and Pastorale.

What was in inspiration behind your venues, Meccanico Food + Wine and Pastorale?

My discovery of Italian food and wine was the basis of my inspiration behind my current venues; however, I also have a desire to build Wagga’s tourism for food and wine. The Riverina Region is often referred to as the ‘Agricultural Hub’ of New South Wales. We have an abundance of fertile land and farming, resulting in fresh, local produce that is delicious. At the moment, when people think of regional areas with great food and wine, Orange, Bright, Beechworth and/or Daylesford would probably come to mind. My goal is to add Wagga to the front of that list.

From concept to execution, Meccanico Food + Wine and Pastorale, were created with the intention to provide a premium experience to customers that reflected the quality and flavours of Italian influence.

Why the Riverina Region?

I was born and raised in Wagga, my parents and broader family live here so it was almost a no brainer to open an establishment in the Riverina Region. I’ve developed strong ties to the region and am committed to showing the wider community the potential Wagga Wagga has as a food and wine precinct.

Another great factor of growing up here and building my business’, is the access I have to local produce. Over time I’ve been able to build strong relationships with local farmers, ensuring we can support local and have the freshest produce available. 

When choosing ingredients for the kitchen / suppliers, what’s most important to you? (i.e. locality, quality)

The most important factor when we’re sourcing ingredients is the quality. We like to keep our produce as simple and as local as possible. One thing we love about Goodrop is that it’s farmed and manufactured in the same region as we operate, over September we see the fields bloom and then use the product fresh in our kitchens.

How would you describe your experience post-pandemic?

This year has definitely been the hardest out of the pandemic. We found that during the lockdown periods, we were able to survive on offering ‘at home experiences’ and were lucky were very well received. However, I think the difficulty in maintaining that traction for 2022 is concerned with the suspension of job seeker/ job keeper. As well as the reduction in corporate travel to Wagga.  Luckily, we haven’t endured the staffing crisis that is taking the industry by storm at the moment.  

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