WHOEVER SAID THAT YOU COULDN’T WIN FRIENDS WITH SALAD, CERTAINLY HADN’T TRIED THE COLOURFUL VEGGIE COMBINATIONS AT BOTANICA REAL FOOD.
Brisbane’s first boutique takeaway salad bar, which recently celebrated its 1st birthday, has proved that healthy eating really is addictive, whether you are time-poor, health conscious or simply a die-hard foodie.
One mouth-watering salad box at a time, this Red Hill institution welcomes a steady flow of regulars and newcomers each day, who are seeking to satisfy their cravings for healthy whole foods, whether it be the lunchtime rush, afterschool treat or dinner party addition.
The story of Botanica Real Food is a humble one, first opening its doors in 2013, when experienced chefs and married duo Alison and Brett Hutley saw a gap in the Brisbane food market for nutrient dense and flavour packed takeaway salads.
Their philosophy is simple – healthy vegetarian eating is not a ‘flash in the pan diet’, but instead a way of life that can be truly delicious.
“Botanica is really about making life a little leafier and a lot easier for people by providing wholesome and tasty food, prepared daily by qualified chefs,” said Brett.
Brett and Alison bring to the table a wealth of experience, having cooked privately for some of Australia’s biggest names.
Alison worked as the in-house chef for James & Erica Packer’s family for five years in Sydney, while Brett was the personal chef to well known voice John Symonds of Aussie Home Loans.
Cooking privately for these personalities and their families meant they were responsible for creating wholesome meals, which not only tasted great, but also had a tick of approval on health.
Yet, the couple said it wasn’t until their last overseas trip to the USA and Europe, just two years ago, that the seed for Botanica Real Food was planted in their minds.
“We have been fortunate to travel a lot in recent years, and particularly found inspiration in New York, when we wanted to eat more vegetarian food,” said Alison.
“We were completely overwhelmed by how much delicious, fresh ‘real food’ we were able to eat over there – it was just so easy to get a healthy and meat-free alternatives to takeaway, using real plant based food,” she said
“When we arrived back home to Brisbane, we wanted to create something special and true to who we are, by drawing upon the inspiration of our travels and our unique skill set.
“We wanted people to have the same experience, everyday, that we had in New York – I think we have succeeded.”
Today, Botanica is turning thousands of kilograms of fresh produce into salads from a 6m-squared kitchen, which is a tricky but a welcomed challenge.
In a single day, the chefs prepare 40kg of broccoli, roast 30kg of vegetables, grate 8 bags of beetroot, massage 30 bunches of Kale, cook 20kgs of whole grains and cut 40 bunches of fresh herbs.
“We are constantly thinking of new ways to help our growing customer base to eat more real food and have plans in the making that will make getting your greens even easier.”
Sweet tooth’s, fear not – eating a clean and healthy diet doesn’t have to be at the expense of an occasional cupcake or cookie.
Botanica’s in-house pastry chef works from sunrise to sundown, creating fresh sweet treats, daily from premium, gluten-free ingredients.
Using the highest quality Callebaut chocolate, almond meal, vanilla beans and real fruit, Brett and Ali ensure that all treats taste as delicious as they look and are the best they can be for you, even if they are “a bit naughty”.
The results truly speak for themselves, with business owners Alison and Brett responding to demands to open the shop front seven days a week in coming months.
At first glance, Botanica Real Food is a beautiful boutique shop front – its window bursting with delicious cupcakes and sweet treats – while the interior is furnished with a glass cabinet of vibrantly coloured, fresh gourmet salads to takeaway.
The shop is located on Enoggera Terrace in the leafy inner city suburb of Red Hill in Brisbane, and currently opens from Tuesday to Friday (9am to 6pm) and from Saturday to Sunday (9am to 5pm).