We believe that hospitality can transform lives.

Here’s our story.
Be part of it.

We believe that hospitality can transform lives.

In 2010 we cooked up a way to make that happen.

We knew heaps of young people hungry for hospitality jobs but facing barriers to getting them. We brought them together with mentors keen to share knowledge and networks, then mixed in sponsors and restaurants ready to create a new kind of dining experience.

We created the first Scarf Dinners season. It was a recipe for success.

Now Scarf pops up in a new Melbourne restaurant every season. Young people get hands-on experience and real confidence to get real industry jobs. They do it in a space where creativity thrives, individuality reigns and high fives are just part of the process.

Diners love seeing the training and mentoring first hand, love being part of something much bigger, and love the moveable feast that is Scarf.

We’re Scarf. Join us for dinner, and do more than dine.

Book a dinner

Our mission, values & FAQ

Book a Scarf Dinner and do more than dine.

Spring Scarf Dinners at The Empress Hotel

Spring Scarf Dinners will run on Tuesday nights at Fitzroy North’s The Empress Hotel from October 6th – December 1st. We’ve recruited a brand new bunch of keen young people (from refugee, asylum seeker and migrant backgrounds) to be trainees in this program, and they’re excited about building their knowledge, skills, confidence and networks. During the Spring Scarf season, the trainees will learn all the ins and outs of front of house service, whilst being supported by their mentors, who come from fantastic venues like The Grand Hyatt and Shebeen.

The Empress Hotel head chef, Lucy Warner, has created a delightful two course set menu (entree + main, $40 per person). Lucy and her team of chefs will be taking care of the cooking. Expect gorgeous dishes like house-made Calabrian sausages with white bean mash, wild Italian greens and roasted capsicum butter. Or pan-seared rockling with puy lentils, roasted carrot mash and herb salad. Vegetarians, never fear, there are many delicious options for you too!

We are now running two early sittings (6.00 – 8.00pm and 6.30 – 8.30pm), as well as regular staggered booking times from 7.00pm onwards. As always, we’ll be offering a fabulous drinks list thanks to generous support from red + white and Mezzanine Wine, Little Creatures, The West Winds Gin, Casa Mariol Vermut Negre and Daylesford & Hepburn Mineral Springs Co. 

Dine with us

If you are unable book at your preferred time/date, and would like to be placed on a waiting list, please email details (including a contact phone number) to bookings@scarfcommunity.org.


Recent Scarf seasons have been held at The LincolnGreen ParkMesa Verde, Top Paddock and Markov.

Sign up here to get all the details on Scarf Dinners as they come to light.

Meet some people from Scarf. They’re what it’s all about.




Winter Scarf 2012

No35 at Sofitel

“After Scarf, it’s all different. I feel ready to get a job because I gained more confidence. I would say to friend if you really want to get more experience go to Scarf.”



Autumn Scarf 2014


“It’s less stressful working with mentors during dinner, they stand to the side and watch me lead. Sometimes I laugh—these skills are so hard at first, but get easier with practice at Scarf.”




Winter Scarf 2012

Waiter and wine buyer,
Cumulus Inc

“We all started out somewhere. It feels great to help young people come out of their shells and show their personality. At the end of it all, such heartfelt thanks… you see it in their eyes.”



Autumn & Spring Scarf 2014

Restaurant Manager,
EXP. restaurant

“Trainees get far more than a skill set from the program. You see confidence build, friendships flourish, it’s amazing to see how far they’ve come in 10 weeks. And it’s amazing to see them so happy.”

The Scarf Team

Hannah Colman, Scarf community cofounder and Manager

Hannah Colman

& General Manager

Liz, Scarf community

Liz Grady

Partnerships &
Communications Manager

Karla, Scarf community

Karla O’Connor

Programs Manager

Christos, Scarf community mentor

Christos Vafeas

Volunteer Lead Mentor

Mel Ross

Melissa Ross

Volunteer Bookings Coordinator


Mae Vincent

Volunteer Wellbeing Worker

Scarf Ambassadors

Our volunteers transform lives.
Here’s how it works.

Hospitality mentoring

Scarf is all about awesome volunteers.

Volunteering at Scarf is an inspirational experience. You share your hard-earned knowledge with amazing young people in weekly training sessions at great Melbourne venues.

You sign up for a 10 week Scarf season, and we work out the area in which you can best support young trainees. There’s front of house, kitchen, and employment support.

You spend about 6 hours per week mentoring 8 young people. They’re super engaged and heaps of fun, which suits the mentoring model. This is not a classroom! It’s real experience for the real world.

Got a skill? Get on board!

Scarf works with all kinds of professionals as volunteers. From photographers to filmmakers, from makers to marketers, from designers to dogsbodies. Whatever your skill, you can be part of something bigger and help hospitality transform lives.

Our partners are the bee’s knees. And we’re pretty good partners ourselves.


Become a Scarf partner restaurant—it’s a great move. You’ll join over 18 restaurants like Union DiningEasy Tiger, Jorg, Epocha, Mesa Verde, Markov and Top Paddock who’ve proudly served thousands of loyal Scarf diners.

Partnering with Scarf means showcasing your food to over 700 Scarf diners over 8 weeks. It means the kind of media you can’t buy, in places like The Age, Broadsheet, and Peppermint.

It’s a top shelf operation. From the calibre of sponsored product, to the mentors from Melbourne’s best restaurants. Partnering with Scarf creates real industry buzz.

And you’ll find out why your restaurant is better than any classroom to the young people whose careers you’ll ignite.

Watch the Scarf partner restaurant video to find out why partnering with Scarf is such a great move.


Sponsoring Scarf means more than just supporting a worthwhile social enterprise. It means your product served in Melbourne’s best restaurants, and a media profile with a difference.

Your products make Scarf possible, so you get a mountain of gratitude. But they do more than that. In the hands of passionate learners, your products become touchstones for a new generation of hospitality professionals.

sponsor-dimmi sponsor-mezzanine   sponsor-redwhite  sponsor-westwind     Vertue coffee    sponsor-littlecreatures  SILKsponsor-daylesfordspring
sponsor-mountzeroolivesLarsen and Thompson Teasponsor-calendarcheesecie sponsor-KelvinLogo   sponsor-sofitelladro restaurant melbournenest-coworking-logo    vermut MelbourneKitty Somerset Melbourne


Big thanks and big ups to Scarf’s funders, who know where to put a dollar to make a difference:

Streetsmart-logo innernorthreross      accor

Real knowledge. Real experience. Real jobs.

Training at Scarf

Scarf trainees are amazing young people. They face barriers to employment but haven’t given up. They’re keen to learn, keen to bust into an industry that they know can change their lives.

Scarf’s approach to training is simple: real knowledge and real experience gets real jobs.

The trainees get real knowledge at training sessions in industry hotspots. They learn beer at Little Creatures and coffee at The Vertue of the Coffee Drink, they learn bar and cocktails at Kelvin and Kitty Somerset, and they learn wine from Jenny ‘The Wine Whitch’ Polack.

Trainees then serve real diners at killer Melbourne restaurants, with on-the-spot support from heavyweight hospitality mentors who volunteer with a passion to share their skills.

After 10 weeks Scarf trainees are ready for real jobs, and with industry training at Ladro to beef up their interview skills, 70% of Scarf graduates go on to employment.

It’s a model we’re proud of.

Who are the trainees at Scarf? Read our FAQ to find out more.

Watch our video to see what training at Scarf looks like.

Referrals for our next program, Autumn Scarf, will open in February 2016.

What we say. What you say.

Scarf in the media

Scarf in the media

Check us out in publications like The Age, Broadsheet, and Peppermint. Transforming lives makes great press, so there’s plenty more to read…

We look like this

This is what we look like

Check out Scarf on video. Then take a squiz at these photos; they’re full of awesome. You can download and use them for media.

Media releases

Scarf media releases

It’s how we talk about ourselves to the people who talk about us. It’s a collection of media releases that may change your life. Ahem.

Buy your way into our hearts.

Gift Certificates

Give someone you love the gift of a
Scarf Dinner!

Scarf Dinners Gift Certificates are available
for purchase from Good Spender.

Gift Certificates can be used at any Scarf Dinner
and are valid for 12 months.


If you can’t make it to a Scarf Dinner, you can
contribute by making a tax deductible
donation to Scarf.

Donations are used for training costs
and trainee wages.

Click here to donate.

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Spring Scarf Dinners at The Empress Hotel, Fitzroy North

Spring Scarf Dinners will run on Tuesday nights at The Empress Hotel in Fitzroy North from October 6th – December 1st. During the Spring Scarf season, our front-of-house trainees (young people from refugee, asylum seeker […]

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