Radley’s Coffee Shop is a hub for the community, whether it’s for a chat over a coffee, a lunchtime concert or a post-match hot chocolate, you can expect a warm welcome from Kate Kadziolka, the Coffee Shop’s Supervisor since its opening in 2013. We chatted to Kate over a cappuccino to find out more about what brought her to Radley.
I arrived here a few months before Coffee Shop and Clocktower Court opened. At first I worked as front of house, helping supervise in Hall, Shop and at functions as the finishing touches were being made to the building. It was amazing to be involved in the Coffee Shop right from the start. Before I arrived in the UK I studied economics and finance at university in Poland.
I love travelling so I’d just planned to come to the UK for a couple of years to improve my English. I had worked in some hospitality jobs and was thinking I was ready to go back home to Poland but for some reason my intuition told me to follow up the job advert I saw online. My first impressions of Radley were so positive and I feel Radley has charmed me into staying for all this time. I feel like I’ve found my safety net.
What do you enjoy about your job?
It’s such a privilege to be so central in the life of Radley’s community and to get to know so many different people. As soon as one of my regulars walks through the door I know what drink to make for them. The Coffee Shop is open every day, and is used mainly by boys and staff in the week, but at the weekend parents come in to warm up after a match on Saturday or as a place to relax and catch up on Sunday.
I have to manage the peaks and troughs throughout the day – it can be very busy during Short Break or after a match on a Saturday when parents love to treat their sons. Sunday is a bit more steady and often boys will bring their homework or play chess together.
The Coffee Shop is so bright and open, and I love being next to the Gallery; it’s wonderful to have such a nice working environment at the heart of the campus. I have an opportunity to chat to the boys who I always find polite and kind. It’s lovely to see ORs come back to Radley for a frappé!
I’m a nature-lover so the beautifully maintained grounds are amazing to me, as well as the friendly and welcoming community I’ve found here, particularly my team and my manager who I know I can rely on for support.
What might we find you doing away from work?
My favourite hobby is travelling – I’m lucky as I have the holidays free to indulge this passion! I love hiking and climbing. I lived in a mountainous area of Poland, Zawrat in the Tatra Mountains, and did a lot of serious climbing there, up to 2160m which can be quite dangerous and scary! I love photography and reading, watching musicals and going to art exhibitions. I visited Cuba a little while ago and really got into salsa music and salsa dancing. My next trip is to Iceland to see the Northern Lights – hopefully I will see them this time, as I was disappointed not to during a recent visit to Tromsø.
What have been the highlights of your time here?
I was able to tutor one of the boys a few years ago in Polish after getting to know his mother – she asked me to help him with his Polish grammar. I had done some maths tutoring at school so this was a great experience. One of the dons who left a while back helped me to begin learning Spanish, so I think Radley is a place where you can form these lovely connections with people.
A boy named Leo Constantatos-Best (C/L Social) who left in 2021 used to sit in the Coffee Shop at the same table every day, after lessons with a hot chocolate – to the point that this particular table became reserved for him. He was always drawing something and I wondered what it was. He came to say goodbye when he left and gave me the picture he’d been drawing – it’s a beautiful sketch of the Chapel which he’d been working on while the extension construction was going on. It was so touching – he was a very talented artist and it was a wonderful surprise and reminded me what a special place Radley is.
Are you a coffee lover?
Surprisingly I’m not really! I have a sensitivity to caffeine, but luckily I love the smell of coffee. Our top selling coffee is a flat white – it has two shots of espresso so it gives a kick and taste of coffee but it isn’t too milky. I taught myself coffee art and I love decorating flat whites and making them look special. The secret is shiny frothed milk and lots of practice! On colder days we sell a lot of hot chocolates with marshmallows and on a hot summer’s day I can easily serve 100 frappés.
Can you describe Radley in three words?
Charming. Friendly. Beautiful.