It’s the wind rustling through the coastal grasses, the sweeps of ocean mist arriving on a hot mid-afternoon. The spring blazes of tea-tree, millions of white flowers flowing down jagged cliffs. And for me, especially, it’s the smell of freshly cooked pasta overlaid with the readiness of a hot, 310 degree pizza oven. Port Campbell is so much to so many. Full of aromas, sights and sounds, it hovers on a tumultuous coastline providing it’s community of people, creatures and visitors with respite and evolutionary reminders.
Port Campbell is my community. It’s delivered me friendship, love, solitude when needed and the space and finances to achieve my vision. February this year I took over a long-established Pizza restaurant, (Nicos) with the aim morphing it into a place that connects responsibly with community; locals, visitors, animals, plants alike while practicing and informing beneficial food habits. I have a long- held respect for all living things and believe that we all should tread lightly throughout every one of our living systems. This belief alone has, and continues to inspire many of my projects. (See also The Place of Wonder, my permaculture garden which supports a portion of my restaurant’s produce requirements and my book, Connect, a garden and kitchen ‘how to’ for cool climate Australia).
It is my aim for REAL Pizza, Pasta Salads to be more than a restaurant. Of course I want to deliver fabulous seasonal food and great customer service but I also hope to encourage those who visit to understand more about ingredients and the food system that they partake in. It is my mantra that if we are informed, we will make better choices. I respect all informed eating preferences. Consequently, my menu style enables those dining to specifically choose individual ingredients. Ingredient origin cards are laid on each table to help customer choices. We in the kitchen then make their pizza or pasta using those ingredient choices. No two meals need ever be the same. In this way customers can have control over their meal, ordering to reflect their dietary preference and environmental savviness.
We love all types of Port Campbell visitors. The Southern Right whales traditionally come into the bay in the first week of July and pass by again with their babies in spring. Also in spring, the Mutton birds come to nest in after their seasonal migration, (visit Mutton Bird island on dusk each evening for their spectacular return from a day of feeding) and the Orange Bellied Parrot gives us a fleeting stopover. But we permanent residents know that excessive pressure placed on this fragile space risk unravelling its habitats. So as business owners and residents we view it as essential that visitors respectfully place living things high on their care list. And we seek to make this easier to achieve by enacting weed eradication programs, environmentally friendly packaging, informative signage and loop walking trails.
Port Campbell is a beautiful location connected to many more beautiful locations and surrounded by such life we have no choice but to be environmentally aware. I hope that the environmentally responsible habits applied here visitors emulate, taking relevant snippets to their own communities and applying them with gusto.
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawuurung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Ancestors, past present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.