Con is creating a world class eating experience in Hobart with Born in Brunswick
After spending time in the spotlight and lapping up all that the Melbourne food scene has to offer, Con Vailas and his wife Sarah returned home to Tasmania in 2016 to spice up Hobart’s burgeoning brunch scene with new eatery Born in Brunswick.
You could say Con’s journey has been a little out of the ordinary. Landing a starring role on the television series MasterChef in 2016 which saw him cook for the likes of Nigella Lawson, Con says the opportunity helped kick-start his career.
“I’d been living in Melbourne and working as a restaurant supervisor for around two years after I left Tassie. So to end up on MasterChef was not something I thought I’d ever do, I didn’t even apply, my wife actually applied for me. But it made me realise that anything is possible.”
Armed with a strong sense of optimism for the future, the native born Tasmanian was driven to create a unique eating experience inspired by Melbourne’s vibrant café and restaurant scene.
“I wanted to do something a bit different, I wanted to do something more like where Melbourne is at with its strong brunch scene. So the idea was literally born in Brunswick, Melbourne but transported to Tasmania.”
It wasn’t until Con stumbled across a property in North Hobart, Tasmania that ticked all the boxes and Born in Brunswick was formed.
“In terms of business, I felt there was a gap in the market here in Hobart. The produce you can work with and what you can do here is so much more interesting than anything we could ever have done in Melbourne.
I’d say in terms of food and what we do, Hobart is the most bustling city in the country at the moment. I employ around 15 staff to help run the business, and it’s just getting busier.”
Con says the ease of accessing fresh local produce was a feature not many on the mainland could boast.
“Hobart is compact. Only 20 minutes out to Richmond and the Colebrook Valley and you’re at some of the best small farms the state has to offer.
I find more and more small farmers and smaller producers are actually coming in and interacting with businesses which is amazing, I really enjoy it.
We are super blessed for produce down here and I’ve learned heaps from Josh Retzer our head chef. He goes out and forages and gets pepper berries, elder berries, snow berries, elderflowers – all the usual sort of suspects – and there is some really weird stuff he brings in as well, like the fruit from pig face and coastal greens.
A lot of people are not able to experience that without having someone that knows what they’re looking for. And that’s what we are giving our customers, a different experience.”
And the key to his success? Finding your niche in the market, being good at what you produce and being proud of it.
“It’s been good, I can’t complain, it’s been busier than I ever imagined it would be. Things are buzzing and once you learn to deal with that, you can get bigger and make it even busier.
I feel that the spotlight is on Tassie at the moment for its world-class produce and opportunities for budding businesses, and I’m so glad to be a part of it.”
Are you interested in making a move? Make it Tasmania.
Find out more about Born in Brunswick.
For information on starting a business in Tasmania look through our stories or visit Business Tasmania.