Food banter with Giorgina Venzin | The Gourmand & Gourmet

Food banter with Giorgina Venzin

If you haven’t heard the Venzin name yet, you’re clearly new to town. Raymund Venzin launched the family business onto the scene with Mons Ban Sabai over 10 years ago, and when daughter Giorgina was ready to make her own mark on Brisbane’s food scene, she added a creative touch to the wealth of experience behind her, opening up slew of cafes and restaurants that quickly became local faves. Now, with Pawpaw’s scrumptious breakfasts and creative Thai dinners, and the delicious café fare on offer at Picnic and Piggy Back Café demonstrating that Giorgina really knows what she’s doing when it comes to making Brisbane foodies drool, she’s ready for more – and we can’t wait to see what she creates next! We had a chat to her about acai bowls, what’s happening the ‘burbs and those rainbow lattes. Every single one of your cafes is a winner in our books – what’s your formula for creating venues that people flock to? Aw shucks! It’s a combination of things! A creative menu, but with food you can eat often and the right people to cook and make it look pretty, not to mention a smiling FOH team to serve the food, the necessities that all Brisbanites love like acai and green things, then Instagram pullers like rainbow lattes.  What does a typical week at work involve for you, besides “Full on!” The start of the week begins with running errands (paying the bills, banking and getting odd jobs done) then Friday – Sunday I am on the floor at one of the cafes/restaurants. What is your proudest achievement to date?   I am proud of all my babies. Yes they are my children! But probably the success of Piggy Back. We stepped outside of our ‘local’ box going to the unknown of Jindalee and the locals took to it within days! I hired a manager who had no café experience and she has turned out to be my best and has created such a wonderful and happy vibe over there! giorgina-venzin-2Do you have any new and exciting projects in the works? The ‘burbs! We want to go where no one else wants to, so we’re looking Bayside and further out north side again. It’s going to mean a lot more driving for me, but there is far too much happening in the inner CBD at the moment and not enough people or CAR PARKS! We’ve seen everything from rainbow lattes to frozen popsicle drinks popping up in a your amazing venues – any predictions for the next big food trend? Turmeric iced lattes for the summer!  If you had to pick one favourite item from one of your venues, what would it be? (We’re partial to Piggy Back Café’s red velvet French toast ourselves.)  Aw man the red velvet is tasty! But my daily go to is avocado on toast and an acai smoothie. Are there any Australian producers, suppliers or thinkers that are inspiring you at the moment?   So many! But the two most inspirational would be Lisa Messenger, from Collective Hub and Sarah Hollaway, who’s doing amazing things with Matcha Maiden and also Matcha Mylkbar in Melbourne. What do you think about the Brisbane food scene right now? It’s happening! It’s grown tremendously since we opened Pawpaw 4 years ago. There are so many new amazing creatives and chefs doing wonderful things! I do worry though because with every new high rise that opens there are 2-3 restaurants below it and I just don’t think it’s sustainable for our population here in Brisbane. We are not like Melbourne, we have great weather and live a more outdoor and active life style. So I suggest everyone think before they go ‘I’ll just open a café/restaurant.’ If we took a peek in your fridge at home, what would we find? Water, mineral water, vegemite, cheese and bread. Honestly my boyfriend just moved in and before here was here there was nothing! Where/what was the last great meal you ate in Brisbane? Pawpaw of course!    Giorgina Venzin | Pawpaw, Piggy Back Café, Picnic