Trina Bryan swapped her New Zealand career in hospitals for an international career in hospitality after falling in love with travel and food.
She started a nursing degree – with her eye on midwifery – before leaving for Dublin for four years to work for renowned contemporary chain itsa4.
Now Trina manages the Bourke Street Bakery in Brett Whitely Place, North Sydney – and she’s born to the role.
“I love feeding people,” she says, “and chatting to customers. It just happens with a lot of the regulars. It makes my day to be able to be there for them.”
When she started in North Sydney in 2014, she was surprised.
“I thought it was going to be exactly like the city, everyone rushing. “But people just tend to be a lot more chilled out here.”
Familiar faces pop in for their fix of daily caffeine and freshly baked goods – and some are well-known. While we wait, Network Ten’s The Bachelor contestant Sophie rocks up to order her coffee next to us.
It’s all part of the community vibe stretching from Brett Whitely Place through to Elizabeth Plaza.
“A lot of that has to do with the shop owners,” Trina says. “Next door the guys in Golden Key Café are great, and Danny in the mobile shop is a legend – nearly everyone in North Sydney knows him. Across the road, there’s Bacino Bar and around the corner there’s Marleys – I love the food, Asian-American rolls, wraps and bowls – the couple who run it are gooood people.”
Trina has been managing the café for nearly four years, but her end-dream is her very own café. She certainly has the right role models to hand. Founders and owners of Bourke Street Bakery opened their Surry Hills flagship café in 2004, baking and handcrafting their own goods, including organic sourdough breads, pastries and cakes and their signature crème brulee tart, Sydneysiders loved it.
With 11 bakeries in key Sydney burbs, they open their first New York city Bourke Street Bakery in a couple of months. They’ve also operated The Bread and Butter project since 2013, Australia’s first social enterprise bakery, that, trains refugees as bakers.
Meanwhile, Trina lives the commuters’ dream. A brisk 15 to 20 minute walk from her Wollstonecraft home lands her in North Sydney’s CBD at 6am each morning.
“It’s great– it puts a pep in my step to start the day.”