Hannah Brennan

Co-founder and General Manager

Hannah is a hospitality professional, Swinburne Multimedia (Media Studies) graduate and occasional freelance writer with a soft spot for limericks. She’s worked in restaurants for over 10 years, and loves food (particularly Italian, Mexican and Thai) and the social side of hospitality. After volunteering with the refugee community in Fitzroy, including editing *bespoken, a newspaper providing a voice to marginalised members of the community, run by The Social Studio, Hannah co-founded Scarf with Jess Moran in 2010. Hannah was a mentor in Scarf’s early programs, and looked after marketing and communications for three years, before becoming General Manager in 2013. She firmly believes in the power of social enterprise to allow young people to gain the skills, confidence and connections needed to break into employment. As well as ensuring the trainees get the most out of the program, Hannah is interested in fostering the Scarf community – volunteers, dinner guests, host restaurants, sponsors, knitters and the like. She also spends a bit of time gently reminding people that Scarf is not an acronym! In our case, it’s just a warm, comforting show of support and an expression of culture.

Hannah works Monday – Thursday. Email: [email protected]


Neil Baxendale

Wellbeing and Job Readiness Worker

Neil’s first job was in a family owned hotel in a seaside town in the North of England, and since then he’s worked in cafes, breweries and plenty of pubs (including supervising an East London pub during the 2012 Olympics, which he reckons was equal parts exhilarating and exhausting). Not content to just play the hospo game, Neil has also facilitated programs which helped young people in prison change their behaviours and lead more positive lives. After gaining a Diploma in Criminal Justice Studies, Neil worked as a Probation Officer in the UK, and then in Australia as a support worker for an outreach program, enabling adults to reintegrate into society after leaving prison. Neil was a volunteer restaurant mentor during Scarf seasons in 2014 and 2016 (and a keen diner during other seasons) and in August 2018 we were thrilled to welcome Neil to the team in the role of Wellbeing and Job Readiness Worker. This sees him running group workshops and one-on-one sessions with Scarf graduates as they transition from the program to ongoing employment. Neil’s main focus is on fostering the trainees’ strengths, building their confidence and providing really practical support with resumes, job hunting and job applications, interview skills and the like.

Neil works at Scarf on Wednesdays and Fridays. Email: [email protected]


Mir Bugti

Restaurant Manager

Mir joined the Scarf Community in 2016 when he graduated from the Autumn Scarf ’16 seasonal program at Rupert on Rupert. Since then, he’s worked in hospitality in front of house roles at different venues, and currently holds a position at the renowned Super Ling in Carlton. Food, wine, beer and all fermented juice are passions of Mir’s. He firmly believes in sustainability and supporting local businesses. Arriving in Australia in 2012, Mir initially settled in Perth and subsequently moved to Melbourne in 2015. Mir loves exploring Australia and what it has to offer. His highlights include visiting country Victoria, enjoying the amazing offerings in Hobart, exploring the outdoors in Cairns and playing tourist in Sydney. On his days off Mir doesn’t mind watching movies based on true events or stories. He calls Melbourne home but will always be a West Coast Eagles supporter. Despite keeping very busy with work, Mir has remained engaged in the Scarf Community, working at multiple Do More Than Dine events, speaking on a panel during GROW Assembly ’18, and volunteering to mentor new graduates during Scarf Turns 10! Mir is excited to join the Scarf management team in March 2020 as our Restaurant Manager. In this role, he’ll manage Scarf Dinners, ensuring trainees are well supported while they gain hands-on, paid work experience. He’ll also work closely with our volunteer mentors and partner restaurants and ensure that all diners have a wonderful night out at Scarf. A very important role that we know he’ll shine in. 

Mir works casually across the week, predominantly on Wednesdays. Email: [email protected]


Liz Grady

Partnerships and Communications Manager

Liz is a passionate communicator, has a genuine love of people and gets little-kid-excited about delicious food and the chance to make a positive difference in the lives of others. All this makes her a great fit for Scarf, where she strengthens people’s awareness of Scarf and finds new ways to grow its wonderful work. Whilst lecturing at RMIT University in 2012, Liz began volunteering for Scarf, in crafts projects and communications. She spent most of 2013 doing marketing at a luxury inn and farm-to-table restaurant in New York before returning to Melbourne and into a paid role at Scarf in early 2014. Liz has always loved the food scene and hospitality industry around the world, and she sees Melbourne’s food scene as one of the most exciting in the world, up there with Paris, New York, and anywhere! 

Liz is currently on maternity leave. For Partnership, Sponsorship or Media enquiries, please contact [email protected]


Jess Colgan

Finance Manager

Working with social enterprise and their founders is what Jess loves best. So together with her passion for and experience in hospitality, this makes Scarf her perfect match. We were excited welcome Jess to the team as our Finance Manager in August 2018. As a chartered accountant, Jess has enjoyed immense opportunity to partner with organisational leaders, creating effective solutions to critical business needs. For 7 years, Jess was Head of Finance at food&desire, a leading hospitality and events business in Melbourne. Her ability to analyse results, build solid relationships and strengthen culture have been the foundations of her success. In 2018, Jess co-founded social impact consultancy Y, collaborating with business to increase their positive social and environmental impact, and with social enterprise to create financially sustainable business models to thrive.  

Jess works at Scarf on Tuesday mornings. Email: [email protected]


Mel Ross

Volunteer Bookings Manager

Mel is a food and wine lover who thrives on exploring Melbourne’s fantastic cafe and restaurant scene. Although she is a trained physiotherapist, she’d love to get into the events side of hospitality. She dreams of running her own cheese and wine bar, because cheese! And wine! Mel has two gorgeous young children, who keep her on her toes and take up most of her time outside of work. Mel has been supporting Scarf from the early days and loves having “date night” with her husband at Scarf Dinners. Mel joined the Scarf team in June 2015 to manage our bookings and support us with administration, and we literally don’t know what we’d do without her!

Mel volunteers at Scarf throughout the week. Email: [email protected]