Scottie Friends: At home with Tash & Yunal


How would you describe the suburb you live in, Fitzroy North?


T: Convenient. Nice. Varied. We’re almost immediately across from Edinburgh Gardens, which is great for Pascal, our dog. Nothing is too far, but it’s still easy to find an ultra leafy street. There’s people like us, mixing with young families, mixing with people like our next door neighbour Herb, an artist and generally zany legend somewhere in his 60’s.

What do you love about living here?

T: It’s one of the only areas I’ve lived in where there is still a really endearing, ‘cup-of-sugar’ sense of community. There’s always a new street to walk down, and there are heaps and heaps of dogs with good names.

When did you get your pup, Pascal? What's good about having him around?

T: We got Pascal in 2012, when he was six months old, and he hasn’t changed much. He can’t check his iPhone when you’re halfway through complaining about your day, which is priceless and sometimes results in him being a kind of hostage. He’s mad for a hug. He’s got silly ears. Sometimes he thinks he’s a cat.

You and Yunal love food & cooking, do you take turns when it comes to cooking, or do you cook together a lot? 

T: I will be interested to see Yunal’s response, but in my opinion cooking together is generally avoided. It usually ends in mess and everyone being fed up with me playing bossy chef. But we're very good at taking turns.

How do you guys spend your downtime? 

T: We don’t have a lot together, considering we work opposite hours. Couch and ice creams, or wine and friends. Occasional dog walks are a weekend treat.

Have you always lived in Melbourne?

T: When I was a baby my family lived in San Diego for a while, and I moved to Brisbane for a year in 2010 which is when Yunal and I got together, but aside from that, yes. It’s certainly home.

If not Melbourne, where?
T: The Victorian coast, or Lyon.

You recently traveled through France for six weeks late last year, what led you over there? 

T: A desperate need for a break from work to wade around in some creative space, and a shamelessly romantic idea of France that I wanted to ruin or immerse myself in, depending on it’s accuracy.

Best thing about traveling solo?

T: Freedom. Freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want without having to consider anyone else. When you are travelling alone you are a completely different person to who you are at home, because you have the opportunity to let things take you in any direction, which isn’t impossible at home, but it is certainly difficult without serious sacrifice. It forces you to meet people and permeate the place you find yourself in. You think less and act more.

You work at one of Melbourne's favourite pubs & restaurants - Moon Under Water @ The Builders' Arms, what's your role & what do you enjoy about working there?

T: My role changes depending on other commitments in my life (studying, for example). I try to keep fingers in many pies. I work as a bartender and waiter in the Bistro and Moon Under Water, am continually trying to better my knowledge with wine, and sometimes do a little bit in the kitchen as well, if the chefs let me. I also do a bit of design work for the business, and have recently completed some artwork for the Private Dining Room.

You're learning off Australia's top wine Sommelier (Campbell Burton), how did that come about? Is it something you have always wanted to do? 

T: Cam is one of the most enthusiastic people I have ever been fortunate enough to work with, as well as one of the most generous with his knowledge. He is whole heartedly committed to what he does, and it’s a bonus that he has a wicked sense of humour and some top notch quirks to keep us smiling. We’ve both been with the Builders since it’s latest re-opening, so although I was acquainted with him from his previous job, I was just very lucky. Generally speaking, hospitality is something I have loved since my first day of work when I was 18 and paying the university bills. It’s certainly a nice bit of fortune to absolutely love your day job.

You like to create beautiful design & art pieces, is there any recent work that you are particularly proud of? Are you working on any pieces at moment? 

T: I’ve started spending a lot more time on three dimensional pieces, which I have been really enjoying and am really proud of. It expands the sense of pleasure that comes from making with your hands, which is something we don’t get to enjoy so much any more. It also allows the piece to take me for a ride, because there’s always a technical snag. I’m a believer that creation comes from play, so installation is a great tool for me. Currently, though, I’m working on a series of larger abstract drawings using markers and a pretty serious amount of stitching, which is testing my patience but proving rewarding.

Who/what inspires you creatively?

T: Generally speaking, most of my current work is about the enjoyment of unexpected quiet and meditative moments, so I suppose that the ones I experience are pretty influential. I love recording atmospheres that are overwhelming, and analysing the memories that form of them. Walking at night, good breeze, natural light and solitary mornings are good. The natural world is generally more inspiring to me, too.

In terms of people, I love the work of all sorts of artists, but I find myself to be more inspired by people who have a great working process. My friend, Jaime Snyder, has worked really hard to develop a great creative working process, so I find myself heading to him to work out the knots. Another friend of mine, John Paul Aziz, is astoundingly active and is always experimenting, which helps keep me on my toes.

A typical day for Tash Lucas?

T: Pascal usually makes sure I’m up at around 8-8.30am, so that he can have breakfast and a walk, and retire by midday (it’s tough going). Unless I’m on a double shift at work, I’ll head for a coffee and a bit of brain dead time, pick up some veggies to cook for lunch for my housemate and whoever else wants some, get through a bit of housework, have a quick kip if I’m lucky and maybe start a creative project that I couldn’t possibly get my teeth into properly before work at around 5pm. A glass of wine with my great comrades after work gets me home around 1.30am, which is prime creative time. I fall into bed whenever I’m tired. 

Some questions for Yunal

You work with water, can you tell us exactly what you do?

Y: I currently work for South East Water as a Process Engineer as part of their planning team. Basically what I do are capacity assessments on particular processes at the wastewater treatment plants managed to determine what year that particular process would exceed its capacity. These calculations are based on forecasted population growth of the location the wastewater treatment plant services. Once the year of capacity exceedance is determined, we then look at how that particular process can be upgraded or added to manage the forecasted population growth. Although technically challenging, conducting capacity assessments is very interesting and the way it is conducted varies with each wastewater treatment process. I also find it incredibly rewarding when the assessments made result in upgrades of wastewater treatment plants as it makes you feel like you’ve been a part of the water treatment development of Melbourne. 

You're a great cook, who taught you, or does it come naturally?

Y: It wasn’t until about 6 years ago that I began developing an interest in cooking. I was particularly fascinated with Indian Cooking since it’s my heritage but also because I just love it so much through my mother being an amazing cook. I watched my mother cook over a 2 year period and stringently took notes. After a number of attempts in various Indian dishes, I think I’ve finally got it. It’s only within the last 2 years that my Indian cooking has been good, but  I am always aspiring to get better.

A typical day for Yunal Kumar?

Y: If it’s a weekday, not much happens except for work, exercise, dinner, and bed. However, if we’re talking about the weekend, typically I would cook a breakfast that would involve bacon, eggs and love, followed by a trip to Small Victories for a coffee. When I get back home, Pascal will typically be staring at me and in his head I can’t just hear him saying ‘TAKE ME FOR A WALK!!’ and yes he wins all the time. For lunch I love going to Carlton Espresso for a pasta and a glass of wine. I’ve been doing this traditionally and can’t seem to stop going there because the pasta is that good. At night typically I would have friends over for dinner and wine, and if I’m lucky enough for Tash to get the night off work, we tend to make the most of it and go out for dinner. As you can see my weekends are uncontrollably based around food and wine.

Yunal, you've made a playlist for Scottie Store, tell us about it?

Since Scottie Store is about comfort in the bedroom, I’ve given some thought into what one would like to listen to being in the comfort of their bedroom. Whether your laying on the bed reading or on your laptop, tidying your room, or just staring at the ceiling thinking about absolutely nothing, the music I’ve selected caters around these activities and ultimately begs you to feel comfortable. A kind mention to Tash for helping me select a few songs in the mix.

City Guide by Tash & Yunal

Edinburgh gardens & Princes park. Beautiful parks where you can just relax on the grass with some wine & picnic, throw the Frisbee around, or throw the Frisbee with your dog.

Food market: Queen Vic markets is an absolute flamer.

Restaurant: The food at Builders Arms Hotel is beyond exceptional and affordable.

Cinema: Cinema Nova in Carlton has an amazing and unique selection of film

Coffee to sit: Market Lane coffee remains to be our favourite.

Wine shop: Our dear friends at Blackhearts & Sparrows sell amazing wine – both classic and natural

Delicatessen: Donatis Butcher for the best meat, and King & Godfree Grocer.

Bakery: Loafer Bread in Fitzroy North

Gallery: Westspace / Blindside

Y: Doomsday Clothing Apparel
T: Melbourne Etching Supplies

Images - Scottie Store