A stalwart in Melbourne’s café scene, Il Fornaio in St Kilda has seen plenty of change since opening in 1996, including its own shift to become a more wholesome food destination. Just over a year in the top job, head chef Simon Turner has imbued the long-standing eatery with a considered, community-minded approach to food, and the results are outstanding.
We caught up with Simon to hear how he’s found the last 12 months.
Melbourne is awash with new eateries and food hotspots. What keeps people coming back to Il Fornaio?
Always keeping it fresh – beyond fads. We give them no option but to have good food. We also focus on offering the guest more choice while maintaining a high level of quality.
Tell us about the influences you have brought in your first year at Il Fornaio?
- A true belief in the farm to table concept.
- A principal of community sponsorship.
- An understanding of global impact.
- A fresh approach to breakfast – my background has always been in fine dining.
- A good training platform for apprentices and the future.
Il Fornaio is a cafe for people looking for…
An understanding of the choice to eat healthy or the desire for a little bit of decadence.It’s a unique cafe experience – for example, we offer house-made bread, house-made jams (strawberry and chia, pineapple and goji) and bacon bred to suit our recipes.It’s a tongue-in-cheek, lighthearted approach to the future of serious food directions.
Do you treat food differently at home than at work?
No, I generally treat food with the same respect wherever I am.
What can we expect to see on the cafe menu this autumn?
Matcha, breakfast digestive kick-starts, juice pairing with breakfast, less grains and more vegetables, and an overall simplicity.