Jess North is a busy, busy girl. Chef & owner of Kalamunda café Jack & Jill (yes, it's on a hill), Jess and her partner Scott also own wholefoods focused café Haynes St Larder a few doors down. With an eagle eye for anything new and exciting on the food scene, Jess was one of the first to get on board with Honest Goods Co. Here, Jess chats with us about the pros and cons of working with your partner, her most popular dishes, and why the café has been such a success since opening in 2014...
You feature a lot of local producers on your menus. Why is supporting local so important to you?
We're pretty spoilt here in the hills. We've got some great producers & makers so I'd be silly not to take advantage of that. But also I'm fourth generation to own a business in Kalamunda. My great grandad had a burger shop, my nan had an antique store, (which is right next door to us now) my Mum had a clothes shop. I went to Kalamunda high like my parents did. One of my first jobs out of high school was making coffee at a local café. I'm still using that same coffee from Crema thirteen years later at Jack & Jill. I've got a history here & I love to support the same people that support me.
Most popular menu item?
This is a hard question because our menu changes every five weeks but the short answer is if it's got smashed avo it's always a winner and our french toasts always fly out the door.
Favourite way to pimp Honest Goods Co. Paleo bread?
Well this question is excites me because I'm such a massive fan of your loaves!! It would have to be the Paleo Pumpkin bread with beetroot hummus, avocado and toasted seeds or the Paleo Coconut Banana bread with tahini, honey and fresh strawberries. We actually serve these two as one dish on our menu and call it 'Honestly Good'. I love it because you get the best of both worlds, savoury & sweet!
You and Scott are partners in marriage and in business. How do you maintain work-life balance?
This is a very difficult one. We haven't actually been together very long despite being married so at first we didn’t know anything other than working together. It worked quite well to start but after a couple of years it became very testing! I think we've got a pretty good balance now with Scott working at the café only on the weekends.
And how do you divide your roles in business?
Scott now has a 9-5 during the week so I definitely have more responsibility at the café. I run the kitchen most days but I'm on the coffee machine a couple days a week too. Scott works front of house on the weekends, charming all the customers!
You also own Haynes Street Larder just a few doors up the hill. Why do you think both of your cafes have been so successful?
There was definitely a gap in the market before either of our cafes opened. They're both totally different from each other and attract different clientele. We've had an amazing response from the community and I think our relationship with the locals is a massive part of our success. I'm so grateful to have made special life long friendships through doing what I love.
Finish this sentence: In two years time I hope…
To have let go of my work load a slightly, possibly with new member of the family on the way? We'll see…
Favourite foodie Insta accounts that you like to stalk?
Oh my gosh. So many. I think I follow about 2000 accounts and probably 95% of them are food related. I'm always keeping an eye on Perth’s café scene, checking out chefs from all over and I follow an obscene amount of food blogs.
Lastly, any new projects in the pipeline?
There have been offers and some interest but I think it's important for us to just take a moment for ourselves. Last week was my first day off - I've worked seven days a week for eight months and poor Scott is still working seven days. It would be typical of us to finally get the work/life balance we've been trying to achieve and then take on another huge project … but we’re going to try not to do that just yet!