We visited a restaurant in Brunswick East that you have probably heard of…
We stopped by and spoke with Brunswick restauranter and everyone’s favourite Aunt Zia Teresa at her restaurant Zia Teresa
Brunswick to me is my world, we began here in 1970s with my husband, I really enjoy it even till today. We had pizza and the restaurant, soon after we started we became so popular a lot of what we did at the time no one knew. I was cooking gnocchi al quattro formaggi and in Melbourne I was the first cooking that and then stuffed calamari, goat, tripe all these things that I cooked with my mother, I learnt my love for cooking from her.
I find a lot of passion when I go shopping at the market, I like to see the fresh produce. I don’t trust getting the produce delivered, I am very particular for freshness, everything fresh. I used to go with my husband to the market, get our fresh produce, come back here, try a new recipe it was a very great chemistry between my husband and I, he was my muse. He was passionate about food, he tried the food, our chemistry helped create such delicious plates of food. After a few months we had a queue for three months we couldn’t take any bookings, it was full all the time.
Brunswick was different in the 70s, they were considered the working people the trendy people were elsewhere in Melbourne but I loved it here it was quiet, nice and the people were beautiful. We got so much support from the local people they recommended us to their friends, they kept coming back we never really needed any marketing.
Has Zia Teresa changed since when you opened?
I didn’t believe in myself, I thought I was not good enough. So I believed that when I hired a chef, that I should do what he thinks is right. There were some dishes that in my heart I didn’t want to take off the menu, but they said they’re old-fashioned so I trusted them to do it. This was a disaster, my customers called, they asked Teresa, what happened to your beautiful plate, the taste, we can not find it anymore.
With the help of my daughter, we went full circle, we’ve taken the restaurant back to its origins, we’re not a modern restaurant our point of difference is that traditional cooking that comes from my mother and the quality ingredients, simple and tasteful food. But now I have a great team working here in the kitchen they follow me, and we taste everything all the time. I do it with passion if I taste and I like it then it’s ready to go on a plate for the people.
For those regular customers you have had for years, do they have favourite dishes?
Yes, for the regulars we have had for years, they love our rabbit, goat even our stuffed sardines and the pasta there is no single one but they love them, the marina also and the gnocchi with four kinds of cheese which has always been on the menu.
We’ve seen people come in, they get married, they have children then they bring their children in they come for their christening their communion. Many of our customers are generational, it’s amazing. Even when I get a little tired and my back is playing games with me I am determined to stay healthy, I don’t want to leave here, I am too attached to this place.