Fusion cuisine in Surfers Paradise – Vapiano’s recipe for success in Australia
Vapiano is hot news in Australia. After the first restaurant opened in Brisbane in 2010, four more followed bringing the total to five. Petra Berglund has managed the restaurant in Surfers Paradise for two and a half years now. Today she reveals why Vapiano is booming down under.
Hi Petra! You’ve lived and worked in Surfers Paradise for five years now. Caught any waves this morning?
I don’t surf at all to be honest! But I love hanging out at the beach with friends. My favourite spot is Burleigh Heads, a few kilometres down from Surfers Paradise. I hear it is one of the best spots to surf on the Gold Coast, together with Snapper Rocks.
You moved from Sweden for the job. Why did you choose Surfers Paradise?
I love travelling and was already a huge fan of Australia. When I left school, I spent six months backpacking around the country and another six months working here. I moved back to Stockholm determined to go back to Australia but this time I wanted to stay longer. It was in Stockholm I first got to know Vapiano. I worked for the company for six months before I packed my bags to head over to Australia again. In December 2010 a friend of mine told me Vapiano was opening in Surfers Paradise and I was thrilled. I have always loved the fresh concept and the type of people it attracts.
Describe the typical Vapiano guest in Surfers Paradise.
There are definitely more tourists than locals here. But everyone is super chilled. In a place is called Surfers Paradise what do you expect?! We get a lot of students in the evenings who drop in for pre-party drinks. By day there are more families, often on their way to the beach or one of the amusement parks around there. It’s a nice mix.
On the menu it says “A little Italian, a lot Australian”. How does that translate into food?
We serve a type of fusion cuisine at Vapiano, meaning we take traditional Italian recipes and give them a Surfers Paradise twist. Using Italian recipes with Australian raw produce is a match made in heaven. Generally speaking I would say that’s the main difference between European and Australian food. We carefully source great quality food within a 150km radius of our restaurants. We are very proud of the freshness of our food and it is important for us to know that we support local businesses.
Do you serve anything typically Australian?
Oh yes. Our Pizza BBQ Pollo is a chicken pizza with barbecue sauce, red onions and smoked cheese. Australians go mad for it! But Pasta Carbonara is our bestseller.
You’ve spent the last five years in Australia. What do you miss back home?
My family, my friends and the shopping. Otherwise, life is pretty good here. The weather is amazing, especially in Surfers Paradise. And the relaxed lifestyle here makes it easy to stay put.
Apropos – what are your plans for the future?
I helped get the Surfers Paradise restaurant up and running. There were all kinds of challenges I had to tackle, but I really enjoyed it and hope the future will bring more.
If you fancy some fun and sun in Surfers Paradise, come visit!