QUT nutrition graduate Jacqui Toumbas is helping her community “pay it forward” by sending wholesome meals from her West End cafe to Brisbane hospital workers and the elderly.
Ms Toumbas had to temporarily close her cafe to the public under government restrictions, but staff at her Miss Bliss Whole Foods Kitchen kept cooking to allow a range of #StayWell meals to be purchased online by customers as gifts for others.
Healthy offerings including frittata, warming soups and green lentil dahl are delivered one day every week to the RBWH, Mater and PA hospitals, and to local pensioners.
Now that Queensland cafes are being allowed to re-open with up to 10 customers, Jacqui will re-open Miss Bliss to the public this Friday (May 22) – initially just for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
“I’ve really missed the customers so I can’t wait to be able to see everyone again,” she said.
Jacqui studied at Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition) at QUT and started her Miss Bliss journey by making and selling her Miss Bliss Balls to cafes across Brisbane.
The business grew to become her own café at a West End location with a family connection.
The site was formerly a fruit market where, every day for about 45 years, its former owner would gather with his Greek mates – including Jacqui’s grandfather – to hang out and play cards and drink coffee together.
When Jacqui’s father learned that the fruit market was going to be sold, he bought it to ensure its community tradition lived on.
Years later, in 2015 after graduating from QUT, Jacqui repurposed the site as a modern take on meeting twin local needs: healthy food and community.
“My goal was to open somewhere to eat healthy food that my dad could go with me and enjoy,” Jacqui said.
“I also wanted to run a café that people could go that felt like family.”
Jacqui's cafe menu boasts wholesome, traditional Greek food as well as fan favourites.
“We serve my grandmother’s spanakopita at the cafe. We don’t use any fillers, only good quality whole food ingredients,” she said.
Jacqui also serves ‘everyday’ meals with some adjustments to make them fresh and healthy, such as locally sourced ingredients, including preservative-free bread and bacon cooked without excess fat.
“Whole food is also about using local and seasonal produce. That’s the basic principle of the traditional Greek and Mediterranean diet anyway — to use food that’s in season,” she said.
Jacqui’s business has evolved to now also include events, a product range, wholesale supply, manufacturing and corporate catering.
QUT’s current health courses include a Bachelor of Nutrition Science, Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Honours) or double bachelor’s degree in Communication (Professional Communication) and Nutrition Science.
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