Spill The Beans Part Two: Q&A With Actress and Barista, Claudia

latte art coffee barista

Name: Cat 

Age: 29



Firstly, why do you work in the hospitality industry? I’ve always enjoyed working in hospo because I like working with people and working in a high pressure environment. It’s also convenient for me because it’s generally casual/flexible work which I need for my other career which is acting. 


Where do you work / what type of place do you work at?

I work at a cafe in the inner North.


What do you like about where you work?

There’s so many reasons I love my work. I love the people that I work with and our customers. I love making coffee and doing coffee art and I always feel appreciated by my bosses for my work. It’s a really great place to work. 


What’s your fave thing on the menu? 

We’ve got a lot of really tasty toasted sanga’s with heaps of vegan options. My favourite’s probably rotate around the Boris, which is pickled beetroot, basil tossed avo, vegan cheese and roquette and the Nasty Noel which is our house-made bean recipe with vegan cheese and jalapenos. 

latte art coffee barista

Latte art by Claudia


Are you working in lockdown 6.0?

Yeah we’ve been doing take away. 


If so what’s your day of work look like for you? 

During lockdown we are open with reduced hours so I usually start about 7am. I get in, set up the coffee machine (make myself a coffee heehee) and the cook will set up the kitchen. Then once we open we will generally get a wave of early risers that will come in for a takeaway coffee. It can get pretty busy at some points which I love. During lockdown we mainly get our regular customers that come in everyday for a coffee or something to eat, which is great because I get to chat to the same people everyday and get to know my community. At about 1pm I’ll clean and close the coffee machine, then we will sweep, mop and cash up the till and get the hell outta there. 


What do you wear to work?

Usually my oldest, least attractive clothes haha. I work as a barista and get covered in coffee by the end of the day so it’s never a good idea to wear anything light coloured or expensive. 


Tell us three things you do in your free time in lockdown? 

  1. Cuddle my cat
  2. Read plays
  3. Constantly re-watch episodes of Rick And Morty


Tell us three places you love eating at around melbourne? 

  1. Smith and deli
  2. La panella
  3. A1 Bakery


What’s your go-to beverage at the moment?

I love a good strong drink so I’ve been making myself Manhattans since the beginning of covid. 


What is your go-to Vegan recipe to cook at the moment?

I’ve been making meringues from aquafaba (the brine from canned chickpeas). It is wild how much it tastes and looks like meringue! I’m gonna attempt a vegan lemon meringue pie. 


In a world post covid tell us something you can’t wait to have/do?

I can’t wait to be surrounded by a hundred people at a party dancing. 


What’s it like juggling a career in acting and the arts and working hospitality shifts? 

It’s pretty difficult even if your workplace is flexible. I’m lucky with my work because they have always been really supportive with my acting. It can still be difficult because when I take time off for acting gigs, I don’t have any paid leave because I’m casual so it can be a strain on the ol’ bank account. 


What’s one good thing in the hospitality industry that was shaped by covid pandemic?

I think the community spirit. We have gained so many new, wonderful customers who go out of their way to support us during the lockdowns. 


What was something you had to overcome in your hospitality career?

My first cafe job I worked out that I was being paid well under the award wage so I had to confront my boss about it and eventually had to go to the fair work ombudsman to pressure her to pay me correctly and get my back pay. It’s unfortunate because hospitality is renowned for not paying their staff correctly.

Luckily where I work now we get paid award wages but I’ve had multiple hospo jobs before this one that have underpaid me and by default stolen money from me. It’s ridiculous that employees can be caught stealing from their workplaces but if an employer doesn’t pay you correctly it’s not considered theft.