Since the establishing of Gather Foods, its aim has been to thrive as an extraordinary Aboriginal-owned food manufacturing, retail and catering company, that not only offers all native ingredients, sustainably sourced products, and provides culinary creativity, but could also builds cultural awareness and champions inclusivity for the Aboriginal people and minority groups more widely. We speak with Managing Director Gerry Matera, who brings a passion for food and an array of business development and management experience to this wonderful company and team.
While the Gather Foods team possess a personal passion for quality cuisine and unique experiences, it was a desire to change the lives of those living in the Australian Indigenous communities that spurred the team on. Gather Foods adopted the approach of conveying its message through the power of sharing a passion for the universal language of food, breaking barriers and starting important conversations.
Through the reimagining of native ingredients and dishes against the context of more than 60,000 years of Indigenous wisdom and practise, the team were able to successfully cut through an inherent and sometimes unconscious prejudice bias, slowly opening the minds and hearts of its patrons to the important lessons that are embedded in Aboriginal heritage. It is this sensory-appealing mix of scent, flavour, and stories that has provided the foundation for Gather Foods’ continuous growth over the last three years, constantly attracting interest and gaining momentum.
As a native and sustainably sourced food manufacturing, catering and events, and retail company, the business uses its culture, traditions, products, and stories to create memorable experiences for a host of gatherings across the corporate, private function, and events markets. This is not to take away from the company’s core principle of elevating Aboriginal people to the top of its service model, ensuring the community is both visible and empowered, providing a setting for the demonstration of excellence within the modern-day commercial and corporate settings. Gather Foods is also proud to have created a safe space for individuals within the LGBTQIA community, people with disabilities, and of course Aboriginal people, where talent can be recognised and nurtured.
The team guarantee that every employee is supported with a high level of training, upskilling, mentorship, and life skills, all of which contribute to the shattering of damaging preconceptions and enable engagement with the community. This is further enhanced through a supply chain of authentically sourced Aboriginal-owned food suppliers, with the successes of these largely remote businesses often correlating with the success of Gather Foods, a catalyst for change is provided that spreads to limitless levels of potential for Aboriginal people to achieve their goals and dreams.
An effective business framework encompasses a vertical model with overlapping dependencies, with each division of the Gather Foods business contributing to overall growth and expansion. For example, the catering and events division provides a channel for the manufactured food products to be explored, and these are also available in a retail capacity. The range of food products available is extensive, and events menus can be adapted to suit clients hosting any number of occasions. Choice ranges from hors d’oeuvre, wraps and grazing plates, to a mobile ice-cream cart complete with Gather Foods ice-cream products, suitable for corporate events, weddings, and family fun days, among others, showcasing the brand’s adaptability within the events marketplace.
The Gather Foods team is determined to deliver the highest calibre of food and service, aware that they must work harder than their counterparts to alter perceptions, lives, and the wider industry and society. Gerry explains, “I am always so proud of the level at which this is embraced by our team and network.” Food and hospitality acts as the ultimate equaliser, and the talented staff always create the most memorable experiences for guests, choosing to immerse themselves in the culture and help people understand Aboriginal heritage in a constructive environment.
Gather Foods’ journey started on the back of a noble mission to improve the lives of Aboriginal people, and the response, support, and demand for authentic cultural experiences has been overwhelming, with the business seeing rapid and rewarding growth. Over the last twelve months, Gather Foods has been building its capabilities and exploring opportunities with potential channel partners across the US and Europe. The team have ambitious plans to introduce native Aboriginal products to the world and are confident that this is only the beginning of an amazing and ground-breaking journey ahead.