Paula has a lot on her plate
Celebrity television chef and Nelson cafe owner Paula Saengthian-Ngam has expanded the Paula's Plate brand to premises on the city fringe.
Paula's Plate at Edito has filled the space in Vanguard St's luxury interior store Edito, left vacant by the recent shift of Nicola's Cantina to central Nelson.
Mrs Saengthian-Ngam and her sister and business partner Jo Kilkelly have set up the "grab-and-go" offshoot of Paula's Plate, after they were invited by Edito owners Paul and Char Jack to consider the option.
The businesses were complementary, with Edito wanting to maintain a high-end cafe on site, and Paula's Plate seeking to grow its brand.
Nicola's Cantina moved in order to consolidate its two businesses on one site.
Mrs Saengthian-Ngam said they wanted another location and felt Edito was a good fit.
"There's plenty of parking here and good foot traffic but the food is different to the main cafe and we're focusing on providing for the workers in this area while also doing take-away coffee," Mrs Saengthian-Ngam said.
Cabinet food such as breakfast baps, spicy chicken and mayo sandwiches, quiche and rhubarb and pineapple cake have been instant hits since Tuesday's soft opening.
There were plans also to offer take-home options of dinner dishes such as pies, quiches and desserts for people ordering ahead, and which could be prepared in the kitchen of the main cafe in town.
Mrs Saengthian-Ngam was last year's MasterChef New Zealand runner-up. She and her sister opened Paula's Plate in the former Pomeroy's premises on the corner of Rutherford and Hardy streets last winter.
Mrs Jack said the idea of bringing in an element of the cafe to their store emerged when Nicola's Cantina moved on.
"We chased Paula and proposed the idea."
Mrs Jack and her husband Paul Jack spent 11 years in France, primarily in hospitality. They have imported some of the experience into the business in Nelson, which has a third partner Lesley Sharples, and which is attracting a wide clientele from around the country.
"We like style and design and beautiful things and for people to be able to enter through a gorgeous, stylish cafe and wander through the store with a coffee is something they like to do.
"We wanted to reflect the international style we've been immersed in," Mrs Jack said.
Mrs Saengthian-Ngam planned to move between both businesses. The expansion has led to the employment of one more staff member, cafe manager Bruce Melton, formerly of Harbour Light Bistro.
Paula's Plate at Edito is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm and from 9am to 3pm on Saturday.
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