Meet Milan Strbac, owner of Coogee’s world-famous Sugarcane restaurant & club sponsor

In this interview series, we introduce Saints members to our Sponsors.

Saints sponsors help our club in many ways, including; ground hire, purchasing equipment, paying umpires, keeping registration fees to a minimum and ensuring your children can train and play in a safe, healthy, fun environment every week.

 Today we meet  Milan Strbac, owner of Coogee’s world-famous Sugarcane restaurant

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Milan, how many years have you been involved with the Maroubra Saints and which age group are you sponsoring this year?

I have been involved with the Saints for 5 years. I have 2 sons playing in the under 7’s and 9’s this year and I will be sponsoring the under 9’s.

 What prompted your family to get involved  at the Saints?

 I actually spoke with Nick Malceski at the time and asked him for some advice and he recommended the Saints.

 Can you tell us a bit about your background. Did you run or work in restaurants prior to opening Sugarcane?

I have been cooking for 20 years and have run Sugarcane for 10. Prior to opening in Coogee almost 3 years ago I was based in Slurry (Surry) Hills.

 What do you think makes Sugarcane such a great choice for a night out in Coogee?

 The food, service and overall dining experience. I think the experience is very hard to beat in the area.

Imagine this. It’s the ultimate dinner party, hosted at Sugarcane (of course). It’s just you and 5 other guests (anyone you like from the beginning of time, alive or dead). Who’s joining you for dinner?

1 Novak Djokovic

2 Floyd Mayweather

3 Cameron Diaz

4 Diego Maradona

5 My wife Daniella (if I don’t invite her, I’ll be in a huge amount of trouble)

Did you play AFL or any other team sports when you were a kid? Can you share any special memories with us?

I grew up in a strictly soccer family, during my time AFL was nowhere to be seen in the western suburbs and in my culture. The friendships I created 28 years ago are still going strong. That’s something seriously special.

 What do you think makes a successful junior sporting club?

I think having a family focus and community feel plays a large part in a successful sport club. Other things such as a fun, engaging, safe and inclusive environment also makes a great club. Not to mention the great friendships and beer drinking that goes on between the dads and mums.

 Which footy team do you follow and why?

Sydney Swans as it was the only Sydney team in the comp. I do love the red and white, we have membership and hardly miss a home game.

 What’s your usual pre-game message to your kids?

 I love pumping my boys up before games, I do some drills with them and tell them to go hard and try their best.

 And post-game message?

 How did you think you played??? We then discuss the game in full detail. I also hear about when they play for the Swans how they will implement the things we discuss.

Long Black, Latte, Peroni, Sparkling Water or Skinny Cap?

¾ Soy Latte with half a sugar. My coffee order is frowned upon and not a favourite with baristas

 Bacon and Egg roll, Sausage roll, Salad roll or Meat Pie?

Meat Pie, nothing beats a good Meat Pie especially during winter.

In recent years  the club has raised a lot of money auctioning your culinary skills at our annual fund-raising event. Can you briefly explain what it involves. Could Saints members contact you if they are interested in finding out more about this unique and unforgettable dine at home experience you offer?

What I have done I the past is donate a cook at home dinner for up to 10 people. This would involve myself and 1 other chef . We come to your house and cook a Sugarcane inspired meal. I have done it before for special occasions and it has been a great success. I end up joining the party for a few wines at the end and tend to forget what I was originally there for.

Finally, It’s the AFL Grand Final, last quarter. You’ve soared over the pack and taken a screamer. The crowd are going wild. The siren goes. You are 45 metres out directly in front. Your team is 5 points behind. What’s going through your mind as you go back to take the kick?

Why me???? I would be telling myself to stay calm and focus on the kick. Of  course, the kick is pure and straight between the posts and we win the flag.