Andrew Whiting

Andrew Whiting of Elk Espresso (image supplied)
Andrew Whiting of Elk Espresso (image supplied)

If you are a true Gold Coast local you would have already visited Elk Espresso, but if you haven’t had the pleasure yet, you should definitely make it a top priority. Known for its innovative dishes and seasonal menus, Elk has forged its way through the GC hospitality scene for some time and even across two locations! We got to know the man behind the cafe, Andrew Whiting, and found out what the process is when dreaming up the new menus for Elk and what his personal favourites are on the Coast.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’m a pure-bred local born on the Coast.

Tell us a bit about you.
I married my high school sweetheart Jodie at the age of 22 and now have three beautiful kids Lola (8), Max (6) & Leo (3). We have had other establishments apart from Elk including Vintage Espresso (at the age of 25 yr) & Sparrow Eating House. I got into hospo whilst in school and feel very blessed to be able to love my work ever since. A few things I love: sweating it out at F45 (Broadbeach), inhaling Caramilk chocolate & sipping on a good coconut margarita. I also love Survivor & would give my right arm to be on it.

What do you love the most about running a cafe on the Gold Coast?
I love that we get to be a part of the GC where locals and others enjoy visiting. We have such an amazing local community on the Gold Coast and you just don’t find that everywhere. Having people work at or dine at Elk is like welcoming them into your own home so it’s extremely rewarding to see people come regularly and enjoy themselves. I also love the fact that Elk’s team is like family to me – truly a special feeling.

Peach Cobbler French Toast at Elk Espresso (image supplied)
Peach Cobbler French Toast at Elk Espresso (image supplied)

Elk Espresso is renowned for having a very innovative menu, so how do you and the team come up with these dishes?
Our brains never stop churning over new ideas for the next menu! It’s quite daunting sometimes when we are two months out from a new season, as we feel the pressure to keep food evolving plus we take the responsibility of bringing something new-to-the-diner very seriously. It’s part of what makes Elk what it is today and locals near and far keep an eye on what new dishes are dropping with a new season. It’s definitely a team effort with menus between myself, Jeremy (Head Chef) & Emily (Sous Chef).  All three of us are completely different and when we come together for brainstorming it’s a great feeling, we bounce concepts and food ideas off each other.  When we finally release a new menu, it literally feels like we have given birth (haha… I have no idea clearly) but it’s because we put so much time and energy into each and every new element and dish. 

What’s the most popular dish on your current menu?
Brown Butter Scrambled Eggs (with Goats Cheese, Caramelised Pumpkin, Shiso, Hazelnuts and Thyme Onion Sourdough.) It’s been hugely popular to the point where I got asked at school pick up to keep it on the menu from a group of Mums!

What is your personal favourite dish and why?
That’s a hard one. I love the Peach Cobbler French Toast at the moment but obviously, I can’t have that every day! The other go-to for me is the Winter Breakfast Bowl…. Think XO Brussel Sprouts, Kale, Carrot Hummus, Fetta, Poached Eggs, Heirloom Tomatoes, Brown Rice and Charred Zucchini.

Winter Breakfast Bowl at Elk Espresso (image supplied)
Winter Breakfast Bowl at Elk Espresso (image supplied)

How has COVID changed the way Elk operates?
I’ve tried to keep it as “normal” as possible. I feel it’s our responsibility to be a hub for the community on the Gold Coast especially during this season – that’s why we never close in lockdowns. I want people to try and forget the pandemic we are in when they are having their Elk experience. The masks have been a big issue for us though… it’s so hard to work in and communicate properly with them. Plus we do still have some people give us backlash when we make sure everyone has one on when they come in – please remember to be kind.

What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: Highline
Coffee spot: To be honest I love making batch brew at home – it’s my daily morning ritual before anyone else in the house wakes.
Restaurant: Eddy & Wolff
Bar or pub for a drink: Rosellas

How do you choose to spend your weekends?
With three kids, weekends can be a lot sometimes – netball, kids parties, socialising. We do try and bring the kids to Elk on Saturday mornings weekly so they can be involved with what we do, eat some waffles and go play in the park across the road.

Elk Espresso exterior (image supplied)
Elk Espresso exterior (image supplied)



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