Most people know Gary Mehigan from his 10-year stint on MasterChef as everyone’s favourite host and cooking mentor. Here at Veneziano however, we met Gary around 15 years ago when we first supplied coffee to his restaurants Fenix and Boathouse – and it’s been a relationship that’s lasted the years.
A collaboration is something we had discussed a number of times, but with Gary’s demanding MasterChef commitments, it left him little time to spare. When we asked again at the beginning of COVID-19 restrictions, having moved on from his MasterChef duties, Gary said “yes”.
“I didn’t hesitate. The timing was perfect,” Gary says. “I get asked to do lots of things, and in my position, you have to be very careful what you put your name and your face to. Do I use the product at home? Do I love it? Would I recommend it? Well, when you’re talking about Veneziano I don’t even have to think about it or do the research. It’s a product I know well, a product I believe in, and it’s a brand I really love. And that’s what makes this a great collaboration.”
Some people have used COVID-19 restrictions as a time to perfect their sourdough skills or learn a new language. But for renowned chef and TV presenter Gary Mehigan, it’s been a time to enhance his coffee knowledge.
He’s watched re-runs of Pete Licata’s 2013 World Barista Championship routine on YouTube, learned the value of weighing his coffee for AeroPress and has spent time exploring and discovering new origins and varietals.
Gary has been a long-time coffee drinker. He grew up surrounded by his dad’s love for Nescafé Blend 43 and worships his Rancilio Lucy espresso machine at home, but he attributes his newfound coffee appreciation to his partnership with Veneziano.
At Veneziano, we had many COVID19 brainstorming meetings on how we’d get coffee into the hands of home coffee drinkers. A collaboration with Gary seemed like a perfect idea and the result is Gary Mehigan Specialty Coffee.
The range is made up of three blends, designed by Gary himself and our head of green coffee Jack Allisey, and head of R+D Pete Licata. They’ve been designed to appeal to a wide range of taste preferences, so there’s something for everyone.
The Dawn blend is a traditional darker roast with robust flavour, an intense coffee for the early riser that cuts through milk really well.
The Everyday blend is an all-rounder. It’s a smooth coffee that stands up well in milk but can also be enjoyed black.
And The Weekend, Gary’s personal favourite, is a fruit-driven blend with high acidity and sweetness. With dominant berry flavours, stonefruit and green apple acidity, Gary says this blend is a great weekend treat, or in his case, a daily one.
One of the driving forces behind the new range was to make good quality, specialty coffee accessible to general consumers. You don’t need an expensive coffee machine to enjoy them. You can use an AeroPress, French press, even an old cafeteria, which we’re seeing a lot of people dust off during iso.
“There’s always time to make a good cup of coffee, and in our current situation of restrictions and lockdowns, there’s no better time to celebrate the ceremony of coffee making,” he says.
“Chef Paul West once said to me: ‘if you don’t cook you don’t care,’ and I equate the same thing with coffee. If you don’t make your own coffee, you don’t always care. But if you take the time to immerse yourself in the coffee making ritual, you will inherently care more, know more about the supply chain, and enjoy the experience,” he says.
Explore Gary Mehigan Specialty Coffee here.