We talk all things sugar free with The Unrefined | The Gourmand & Gourmet

We talk all things sugar free with The Unrefined

Two best friends from Brisbane who bonded over blogging, a love for cooking, self tanning and a disturbing ability to be able to listen to their favourite song on repeat (about 12 times), Nicola Scruby and Jess Frank from The Unrefined have become familiar faces in Brisbane’s healthy living scene. Their unique brand of sugar and gluten free granola is taking over breakfast menus everywhere, not to mention kitchen cupboards with the help of their online store. So how do you go from blogging to running a gourmet granola empire and helping thousands of like-minded people maintain a healthy lifestyle? We had a chat to the dynamic duo to find out. Describe what it is you do so well in a sentence, and don’t be modest. We like to think we are pretty decent cooks and know our way around a kitchen. We are always trying to recreate our fav snacks and childhood treats in a refined sugar free form which is how our ultimate snack – The Unrefined Granola was born. How did the The Unrefined come about? We worked in retail together for a few months (where we weren’t the best of friends oddly) then went our separate ways and somehow ended up back together where we realised we are pretty much the same person. With both of us being over sharers we admitted our bodies felt a bit out of whack and this sparked the beginning of the sugar free journey. Through giving up sugar we both became more in control of ourselves and our hormones (after going completely crazy for a few months) and we decided to share via Instagram. The response from people and companies was overwhelming and from the demand we started selling our refined sugar free granola- The Unrefined Raw Neighbourhood Honey Granola which we now stock to over 25 locations through Brisbane and Sydney as well as our online store. What is your favourite thing to cook?  Well that definitely changes with the seasons but currently it’s our version of Fish and Chips from our eBook. Last week we added some ground up granola to the crumbing mixture and it was ridic! What has been your greatest challenge since you launched? Balancing between life, work and the friendship. Basically it’s a very blurred line… especially when we were also roommates. We will take this opportunity to apologise to both of our boyfriends right now because they sure do put up with a lot! What inspired your love of food? Nicola’s mum and Jess’ dad are both incredible cooks who taught us so much growing up and really planted the seed. I guess we just surrounded ourselves with different people who each have their own unique take on cooking and we have picked up bits and pieces from everyone to create our own style. So many people have been our inspiration and drive when it comes to cooking and food, each other included. What is your proudest achievement to date? Launching the book and actually having people buy it! The Unrefined Cycle is our version of a cookbook and our life discoveries all in one. We wrote it to share what we learnt about our bodies and the links between sugar and hormones as a female and the response has been overwhelming. The fact that we have been able to partner with our favourite charity, Share the Dignity (whose aim is to provide homeless and at risk women nationally with sanitary products to allow them a sense of dignity at a time when they need it most) has also been a real honour. unrefined 2What does a typical week at work involve for you, besides “Full on!” Most days start with a long black and a bowl of granola as we sit down together and map out what tasks we need to tick off. Typically we go to the kitchen and oversee the production of the granola, packaging etc. Meet with our stockists and suppliers, make sure deliveries are running smoothly, try and come up with new recipes, call our families so they know we are alive and make sure our boyfriends see our faces for the same reason. We used to have a rule that we were going to go to the beach once a week but that only lasted two weeks… What does the future hold for The Unrefined? We don’t want to say too much but after the success of The Unrefined Swim we are so excited to announce that later this year we will be launching The Unrefined Basics – a small capsule collection of our fave things. We also have some new flavours of granola out in the next few weeks which we can’t wait to share with everyone! Are there any local producers or suppliers that are inspiring you at the moment? Well we have a MAJOR obsession with BeeOneThird Rooftop Honey and love it so much that we use it in our granola. Basically it saved us when we were going through the ups and downs of giving up refined sugar. Now before you go out and buy regular honey from the supermarket please understand that BeeOneThird is raw and unprocessed therefore far lower in fructose than regular store bought honey. It is also a lot stronger in flavour so when making our granola we only use 2 tablespoons to every 5 kilograms…you really don’t need much at all! What do you think of the Brisbane food scene right now? The Brisbane food game is strong and we are loving it! We both are obviously very passionate about eating healthily and don’t think we could have built our brand so successfully in another city. We find Brisbane to be very health conscious and most cafes and restaurants happily cater for this in such a welcoming way. What do you love most about your job? Working with someone so likeminded who understands your crazy quirks and supports the fact that sometimes you just need to lock yourself in your kitchen and get creative for 10 hours. It’s also amazing to always be meeting so many different people who support us and have really helped us build our brand. If we took a peek in your fridge, what would we find? Granola, almond milk, all the ingredients to make our green smoothie bowl, cacao and ALWAYS a little bit too much coconut milk Where/what was the last great meal you ate in Brisbane? We do cook a lot but when we do eat out our fail proof place to go for breakfast would have to be Pablo in New Farm. They always have good old fashioned comfort food options and we have honestly never had a bad experience. For dinner we are both always keen to go to James Squire in South Bank, that place gets it right every time but it’s pretty indulgent so we try to keep it to special occasions. Where do you think is Brisbane’s best kept foodie secret? Well we are at the Jan Powers Farmers Markets every Saturday at the Powerhouse and while we know it’s not really a secret we are constantly blown away by the food that is presented every week. Seriously good eating to be had there and we are always trying something new. Plus we are big believers in supporting local produce! Nicola Scruby and Jess Frank | The Unrefined