Legends of the Speakeasy Group – Andy Caldwell

We sat down with down with Andy Caldwell, the Venue Manager of Mjølner Sydney over a whisky poured from Mjølner itself to discuss hospitality and his role at The Speakeasy Group.

Tell us a bit about your hospitality journey and what you love about the industry?

My grandfather started in the Hospitality industry in 1930’s Belfast when he was just 8 years old, working in bars as a bus boy saving up money to buy his first bar in Belfast at the age of 16 in 1938. It’s something my father continued in the vein of the culinary world rather than Pubs and Bars and rose to be quite the recognised and respected chef in the Irish Hospitality scene in the 1970s and 1980s. You could say Hospitality runs in my blood.

I love hospitality not only because it was what allowed a poor catholic family to pull themselves out of poverty and rise to a level where they sent not one but two children to Harvard University and Cambridge University, but because it is one of the few industries where the connection with people is still maintained and strong, it is an industry where it is all about people. And I love that. You really get out of hospitality what you are willing to put in.

Throughout my career I have worked in Cocktail Bars built in churches, comedy clubs, leading London cocktail bars, Michelin Guide Restaurants, and even your local pub, dedicated to understanding and developing my skills in many different areas to refine my knowledge, experience, and capabilities as much as I can.

What is a day in the life in your role look like as Venue Manager of Mjølner Sydney?

My day to day is mostly consumed with ensuring that the experience we have dedicated ourselves to delivering is executed to the highest level. Interacting with customers, kitchen, and staff alike to ensure that all cylinders are firing. But also, in the background whenever I have the time, constantly investigating and developing ways of growing the brand.

What do you love most about your role as Venue Manager and working at Mjølner?

My team more than anything. Since beginning I have grown the team around me to a great place where we are really a close-knit family of lads and ladies who have all come to really thoroughly enjoy what they do, and working with each other. Which makes me very proud to say the least, seeing fully what they are all capable of once they are given the space and the time to do so.

Favourite dish on the Mjølner menu?

My favourite dish at Mjølner would have to be the Sydney Rock Oysters, basic I know but the sunrise lime vinaigrette that our fantastic kitchen put together for it is nothing short of stunning, and who doesn’t love an oyster?

Second would have to be the Grilled Whole Snapper, with snow pea sprouts, charred garlic shoots, and a fantastic lemon-based sauce that is generously drizzled over the top. It is absolutely to die for..

Where would we find you on a day off?

Most likely at the beach or at the gym, swimming in the water or working out just seems to do wonders for my ability to really relax. That or sat on my couch playing a video game like most nerds my age.