Have you ever felt in the mood for a fantastic feast but struggled to make a decision as you scroll frantically through Canberra’s almost-limitless food options? Ever felt it would be easier if someone gave you a list of the top five eateries that cater to your likings in a punchy, creative short-video format?
Enter The Canberra 5. Developed by work buddies, Michelle and Miguel just over five months ago, The Canberra 5 publishes short videos (vlogs) featuring the top five best places to eat and visit in Canberra.
According to Michelle: “The idea was basically to do something unique through the vlogs because nobody really in Canberra seems to be doing that. [And] we love Canberra as well. Miguel came up with the hashtag Canberra proud and that really sums us up because we love this city and we love exploring it and sharing it with people.”
Having both been born in the Canberra region, life has taken them far and wide including to places like New York and South America, but they always seemed to make their way back to the Aussie Capital.
For Miguel, Canberra is just a ‘different place’ and The Canberra 5 became an avenue to share that. The website and succeeding Instagram account encapsulates ‘Canberra life’, featuring anything from the top five best eggs benedict in Canberra to the top five reasons to check out the Handmade Markets.
“The vlog isn’t just food. At the moment, it’s had more of a food focus because that was a great way to start it. But it’s food and lifestyle and family and kids.”
The Canberra 5 concept is an extension of Michelle’s and Miguel’s love for lists. It sparked from the joy of seeing the ‘top five of something’ and initiated the idea of creating little digestible videos that are professionally produced. Miguel explains,
“One day Michelle came to me and showed me this video of someone who created this list of five playgrounds in Melbourne and we just thought when we had young kids that would have been something that was really good and because we both worked in media we kind of took that and ran with it. The social media just kind of followed naturally, it was a means of promoting the vlogs and the website.”
With a professional background in production (with Miguel also owning his own video production company called 10Pencils) the pair had the basic ingredients to create something original and fresh on the Canberra online foodie scene. It’s no wonder that The Canberra 5 Instagram page is consistently growing, accumulating over 1600 followers since its launch back in July.
Both are also passionate foodies, especially Miguel, who stands by the philosophy that food should be enjoyed because it is something we consume daily and something that shaped the way he grew up.
“Growing up in Canberra I always knew we didn’t have much money. I never had the best sneakers and we probably didn’t even have the second-best sneakers. But something we always had was really good food. We would come home and my mum would just cook this amazing food and that was her forte.”
For Michelle, it is the ‘experience of eating out that counts’. She explains that eating out is just as much a ‘social activity’ as it is about feeding your body. It’s not always just about the food but everything that comes with it including the people, preparations, and presentations.
Both Michelle and Miguel are acutely proud of how the food culture in Canberra has changed in the last few years. In Miguel’s words, Canberra has evolved from an innocent child into an influential adult.
“Canberra is such a great food place. It’s become this amazing city. It’s always had these amazing restaurants but over the last decade it’s just been transformed and I want everybody to know that. [Canberra] was like this little kid, there were some nice restaurants around but you could count on your hand really how many good restaurants there were. Now it’s just impossible …it’s like this little kid has just become a full-grown adult with a little family. It’s a great place to be now”
Among Miguel’s and Michelle’s lists of booming areas in Canberra are local brewery’s from Bentspoke to Capital Brewing Co. Michelle sees the foodie boom as a result of the supportive nature of Canberrans, who are ever-enthusiastic and willing to try out new things.
“Everyone is just so supportive of each other. We did a top five street food video and I think street food has really picked up in Canberra. You have all these little pop-ups that happen and festivals and people here just embrace it.”
While The Canberra 5 is just a ‘side-hustle’ for the power duo, it’s nonetheless one that has left an imprint in their lives. For Michelle, this includes simple things like going out and spending time with their families on the weekend where she suddenly can source great content to share.
“There was the Canberra Moon Festival a couple of months ago and we just took the kids there for the afternoon and they had a ball and I got some nice pictures while I was there and basically just living our lives but taking a lot more photos. We always have to take photos where we eat so we do feel sorry for our friends and families because their food goes cold while we are trying to capture some shots.”
So, what suggestions do these Canberra locals and avid foodies have for the rest of us hungry folks? Trev’s @ Dickson for their innovative breakfast menu, Kynefin in Hall for their creative concepts, 1882 Bar and Grill for their ‘different vibe’ making it a great place to take visitors, and Capital Brewing in Fyshwick for their relaxed atmosphere where the kids can run around while you indulge in locally sourced food and beer.