With the festive season upon us, we’re reminded about the joy this time of year brings and the feeling of togetherness. This usually happens around a big table, adorned with lashings of indulgent sweets and savoury parcels that are shared while stories are told and laughs are had. It’s this feeling that prompted Townsville locals, Heidi Hatherell and Ash Ede, to introduce a unique and innovative style of dining unlike anything Townsville has seen.
Since its inception in May this year, The Secret Feast founders have enjoyed over ten sold-out events, catered for corporate functions and received dozens of positive reviews, yet it all started thanks to a surprise birthday party with a twist.
“Heidi’s family are in the UK so I wanted her birthday to feel special with friends all sharing gorgeous food,” Ash says, as she talks about the party she planned for best friend – and now business partner – Heidi. “We moved our furniture out of our lounge and brought in a long white table and chairs for thirty of Heidi’s closest friends, everyone loved it and so after a few drinks we started talking about combining our skills to put on a few dinners, before I knew it Heidi had built a website and The Secret Feast grew from there.”
The ‘secret’ element lies in the mysterious location and dining options. “A week prior we send an email with the dress code, then the morning of the event, guests receive an email and text message with details of the location and that’s it. It’s that suspense, that surprise that people enjoy,” Heidi says.
The Secret Feast is also resonating with people around the country.
“We have chefs from across Australia keen to work with us so we are looking at doing something out of state in 2018 for The Secret Feast,” Heidi says.
While the ladies aren’t planning on national domination just yet, local expansion is underway this month.
The next step in their culinary journey is ‘Otto’s Hens Haus’ bringing a whole new dimension to the already thriving food scene at Otto’s Market with charcoal, fried and rotisserie chicken on the menu alongside stunning salads and gourmet sides.
“The Hen Haus is not a secret,” Ash laughs, as she highlights that the space includes a commercial kitchen. “It was the obvious next step to help us grow The Secret Feast and ensure that we are able to cater to the increasing demand for catering,” Ash says.
Ash and Heidi say this proves that with the right concept, hard work and persistence pays off even in tough times.
“Townsville has a growing foodie culture and people are willing to spend money for unique experiences and beautiful food. We work hard to ensure that each dinner is different and our Hen Haus menu is unlike anything else offered in Townsville,” Ash says.
Heidi can’t help but agree, adding, “from day one we have been focused on knowing our market and going the extra mile for our guests. We will continue to surprise and delight audiences by offering something unique in every venture we embark on and wherever this journey takes us.”
As for the rest? We can’t tell you any more, it’s a secret…
If you think these ladies have a cool job, just check out this JCU researcher who gets to dive with dwarf minke whales!