Chris Thomson, Local Producer, Brisbane Ginger Beer
Appreciate your staff ...
Spotting the Noosa Chocolate Factory stall piled high with mountains of lush chocolate at a farmers market instantly causes your tastebuds to stand to attention. Lavish slabs of the signature rocky road sit alongside coated macadamia nuts and textured coconut rough. The creation of Chris Thomson, Noosa Chocolate Factory has been producing fresh decadent chocolate from Belgian couverture and local ingredients for the past four years. With chocolatiering and lolly-making the tricks of the family trade since the 1940s, Chris followed in his ancestors’ footsteps training at the William Angliss School of Confectionery in chocolate and hard sugar panning. But when Queensland’s weather begins to heat up, the Noosa Chocolate Factory products are no match for the sun. Now putting his home-brewing skills to good use, Chris has also started Brisbane Ginger Beer, offering the delicious, naturally brewed and fermented thirst-quencher at his regular market stalls in the warmer seasons. Showcasing both stalls at Regional Flavours this weekend, Chris will launch a new apple cider under Brisbane Ginger Beer. The Weekend Edition caught up with Chris to discover his weekend essentials.
How do you like to start your weekend?
I like to start the weekend with a strong flat white. I am up at 1:00 am on a Saturday to prepare our businesses for exhibit at the farmers markets in Brisbane. People should appreciate how hard stallholders work in order to get their products to the markets.
What’s your favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning?
Golf. Nothing beats an early tee time on a crisp winter morning. Followed by an early Yum Cha.
How do you like to unwind?
I like to play a round of golf once a week. For four-and-a-half hours, everything seems to be forgotten and the only thing that’s important is making birdies.
What are your essentials for a well-spent weekend?
Beautiful weather – it is essential for good Brisbane Ginger Beer sales. But not too hot, as this dramatically affects our Noosa Chocolate Factory sales.
What’s something you’ve been meaning to do on the weekend but haven’t got around to yet?
Driving up to Noosa to visit my parents. It’s been five months.
What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday evening?
Drinks with my girlfriend Amy at the Yard Bird Ale House is our routine Sunday evening regiment.
What are you looking forward to next weekend?
I am really looking forward to meeting some of Queensland’s best producers at the South Bank Regional Flavours festival. We will be exhibiting our two businesses there: The Noosa Chocolate Factory and Brisbane Ginger Beer.
What are you reading at the moment?
The Big Miss by Hank Haney. Tiger Woods is my idol.
What inspires you?
I came across a waiter in Mumbai working long hours for 50 cents a day in an effort to support his family. If I think I’ve had a bad day I get over it pretty quickly thinking of the hardship of workers in developing countries. It’s seemed to be the norm for successful businesses over there to spend a pittance on their staff and this outrages me.
What was your childhood dream?
To own a four-wheel drive.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Convincing my girlfriend to pick me.
What is success to you?
Running a business at a profit, even if it’s a small one!
What are your words of wisdom?
Appreciate your staff.
Only a local would know … there is a very convenient drive-through tunnel from Adelaide Street in the city to Brunswick Street in Fortitude Valley.
FAVOURITE WEEKEND SPOT TO:
Perk Up …
Merlo Coffee, Fortitude Valley
Relax … Hua Hin, Thailand
Dine … At home
Indulge … Tod’s, I am a big fan of their loafers.
Shop … Jan Power’s Powerhouse Farmers Markets, New Farm
Catch-up … Sofitel buffet dinner with friends on a Saturday
Be inspired … Browsing through a farmers market near the Globe Theatre in London a few years ago inspired me to start a food business in Australia