On Saturday 30 March, celebrated Melbourne restaurant Attica is hosting a bake sale to raise funds for victims affected by the Christchurch terror attack.
From 9am to noon, the Ripponlea restaurant (ranked fourth in the Gourmet Traveller 2019 Restaurant Guide) will be selling treats by some of Victoria's best chefs and pâtissiers. Expect pastries by Lune Croissanterie's Kate and Cam Reid, cheesecakes by Andrew McConnell (Cutler & Co) strawberry mascarpone by Neil Perry (Rosetta, Rockpool Bar & Grill), chicken breakfast sandwiches by Morgan McGlone (Belles Hot Chicken), and coffee by Market Lane roasters. There will also be goods by Jo Barrett and Matt Stone (Oakridge), Phil Wood (Pt Leo Estate) and Shannon Martinez (Smith & Daughters).
The chefs will be donating their food, drink and time to the day, and all money raised will go directly to the Givealittle fund for the Christchurch victims and families. The fund has been set up by Victim Support, a New Zealand organisation that supports victims of crime and trauma. At the time of writing, more than $8.5 million has been raised.
Ben Shewry, the New Zealand-born chef and owner of Attica, was moved to act after hearing about the Christchurch shootings. "I had a very innocent childhood growing up," he says. "It doesn't even seem possible that something as violent as this terrorist attack could happen." He's been inspired by stories from home of the New Zealand community rallying behind victims in the aftermath of the tragedy. "Everyone is bonding together to say, 'this is not who we are as an inclusive nation'," he says.
For the sale, Shewry and his team will be baking Attica's famous Vegemite scrolls. "We've never offered it off the menu before," says Shewry. "It's like a cross between a traditional Aussie Vegemite scroll and a steamed bun… It's soft, cheesy, buttery and luxurious." As well as making a few hundred scrolls for the sale, Shewry has plans to bake a "giant-sized" version especially for the event. "People always tell us that if we did it takeaway that they would queue around the block for it. We're hoping that happens," he says.
In the lead up to the bake sale, Shewry spent last Saturday afternoon hugging strangers on the banks of the Yarra River. Not that his affection was for free. Priced at $20 per hug, all funds raised were also directed to the Victim Support's Christchurch fund. "Our message is simple," he says. "Don't hate – appreciate."
Baking for Christchurch: Saturday 30 March, 9am–noon (or until sold out), Attica, 74 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea, cash only.