The Venzin family-run empire encompasses four of Brisbane's most loved venues: Woolloongabba's Green Papaya, and Pawpaw café, Camp Hill's Thai haven, Mons ban Sabai, and Italian favourite La Finestra. With Father, Raymund at the helm and his daughter, Giorgina set to take the reins, this restaurant dynasty is going from strength to strength, and we can't wait to see what delicious dining inspiration they come up with next.
Before they had a restaurant empire, the Venzin family ran a cooking school, and quite a cooking school at that. The Garden Restaurant and Cooking School has been teaching Brisbanites how to cook fab' and fresh Thai food at home for over 12 years, and to this day it remains one of Brisbane's premiere cooking schools. Check out the cooking classes on offer here, and learn how to impress your friends with the best of Green Papaya and Mons ban Sabai's menus.
Because they love Thai food so much, and appreciate that the very best Thai food comes from the motherland, the Venzin's have taken it upon themselves to spoil one Urban List reader silly with the chance to win one very special foodies trip to Thailand! Entry is easy peasy; all you need to do to be in the draw for this fab prize is to vote in our Best of Brisbane campaign (you can vote here!) and then dine in at one of the Venzin's fabulous venues. Then you'll be in the running to win a trip to Phuket for the ultimate Thai food adventure. (Find the full list of terms and conditions here.)
We took two minutes with the woman behind the scenes at these four amazing venues—and making it look easy!—Giorgina Venzin:
TUL: Describe in one sentence what you do for work?
Create a balanced relationship between the floor and the kitchen, to make a memorable experience for all restaurant diners.
TUL: What is the most exciting part of your job?
The adrenaline rush that I get when the restaurant is full. I am responsible for everything running smoothly, and that all our customers leave impressed.
TUL: What's the best part about working for a family business?
Hanging out with my dad most days . . . We bounce off each other!
TUL: As the next generation, have you brought any fresh ideas to the table you would like to see implemented, or you have seen implemented?
I have a degree in business majoring in events and hospitality. My dad is an engineer with a passion for all things food, but no one taught us how to run a restaurant. I have used my degree to put more formal structure into the business, more processes and procedures that were not there before. I also have a better understanding of the service procedure so I train most of the staff. I am also heavily active on the social media side of things, like Facebook and Instagram.
TUL: What do you want people to get out of their experience when they dine at one of your restaurants?
I want them to leave completely satisfied, whether it's with the service, the food and, of course, value for money! Most of all I want them to leave feeling important—my father or myself always try to be around to say hello to the customers, answering the phone or running orders. We like to be physically involved so we can give a personal touch to let people know they are really appreciated.
TUL: Your restaurants serve up some very different cuisines—do you have a favourite?
You can't ask me that! I love Thai because I can eat it every day . . . it's fresh, light and full of flavour. Italian has pizza! And the most amazing desserts. And, of course, Pawpaw has corn fritters for breakfast! I love them all.
TUL: Which Brisbane restaurant are you loving at the moment?
I have been meaning to check out Lefty's. My much trendier brother tells me good things.
TUL: Where was the best meal you've ever had?
The Seafood paella I had during the soccer finals in Barcelona, two years ago!
TUL: What would you request for your last meal on earth?
A fried chicken burger from Pawpaw café—Rory makes the best burgers!
TUL: What's next for the Venzin family?
A late-night licensed café. Nothing pretentious, just friendly, fun staff, affordable food, live entertainment on the weekends, and a breakfast menu that runs into the night. Who doesn't love waffles and bacon for dinner?
TUL Note: Today's List Love post is proudly sponsored byGreen Papayaand endorsed by The Urban List. Our sponsored posts will never be a secret - the List Love seal will be stamped on any sponsored material you see on the site.Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible.
Sophia is a Brisbane-loving food fan and long time Beyonce enthusiast. Since 2012 she's been a writer, editor, and professional eater for The Urban List Brisbane, where her love of punctuation and jam donuts comes together nicely.