Introducing Walter and Dini Rambaldini, the craziest and most loving people you'll ever meet. These two are like family to me and there is never a dull moment when you are in their presence (they are total and utter nut balls!) which is why i love them so much and i am so thankful they are in my life.
Owners of the cafe 'Pure Wholefoods' in Manly, Walter and Dini have been doing healthy before people even knew what healthy was. Before it became the trend. They pioneered good, wholesome, real food way before we were all running around drinking green juices and almond milk lattes in our workout gear (with no intention of working out!).
But they weren't always in the health scene.
Walter grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney, not far from me actually. Dini grew up in Holland. And their story is such a fun one!
Straight out of school, Walter moved to the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney to work as a fashion salesman with John and Merivale. But then he met Eddie and his life changed forever....
"This Eddie guy, owner of Jamison Street Night Club comes in to the store, i sell him a bunch of expensive clothes and he goes 'I like you man, come work for me. I'm opening this amazing club in the city'."
So next thing, Walter finds himself working in the main bar at this club with zero experience. Until 6 months later when a scout for one of Australias biggest modeling agencies comes into the bar and offers him a job. Walter then starts modeling during the day and working the bar at night.
He ends up in Amsterdam, modeling and chasing the idea of meeting the "Dutch girl of his dreams" and then one fateful night, Milan. A girl he was "kind of seeing" asked him to come and visit her so he jumped on a train, arrived at the hotel and decided to go for a quick run.
"Coming out of the elevator i see Dini hanging in the foyer. Stars, bells, fireworks, hard on, it was love at first site. The rest is now history. I find the Dutch girl of my dreams in Milan, 1982." (Not sure what happened to girl he was supposed to be meeting!)
They then moved back to Australia together and Walter decided to ditch the modeling and take up photography.
"I felt really weird being a male model and i was really bad at it. Having the fashion and modeling background made photography an easy transition."
After a short stint in Australia they decided to move to New York, Dini modeled and Walter took pics. But the years of partying finally took their toll (i can only imagine how crazy New York was back in the 80's!) so they decided to move back to Australia for good and start a family. They retreated up to Newport on Sydney's northern beaches to "get away from it all" and then eventually settled in Manly with their 2 stunning girls and opened Pure.
What was the motivation for you opening Pure? So we could both be in an environment that was real, nurturing and healthy. Using our creativity and passion.
Did you have any experience in running a cafe before opening it? No. We both worked in restaurants when we were younger, me (Walter) in nightclubs.
My husband and i lived in Manly for a brief second and we used to spend every morning at Pure. We would stroll down in the early hours of the day just as Walter and Dini were opening shop and chat the morning away with them while enjoying our dandelion lattes, full brekkies and (my favorite) their brown rice porridge with stewed fruit. It was the best part of our day.
Health food has gone a little nuts since those days, extreme if you ask me. But Pure Wholefoods has stayed just that: Pure and Whole. On the breakfast menu are delicious items like nasi goreng (my hubbys fave), quinoa porridge with fresh fruit, buckwheat pancakes with raw maple syrup and gluten free toast with eggs, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, haloumi, basically the lot!
Lunch is a selection of delicious salads, frittatas, nori rolls, nachos and burgers but my favorite is Dini's homemade falafels. They are seriously the bomb! Coupled with their avocado salad and i am in lunch heaven.
Dessert (because lets face it, lunch is just the precursor to an afternoon snack) consists of yummy raw cakes of the day, baked fruity muffins or a bar of dairy free, raw chocolate. I've tasted almost everything on the menu over the years and it is all amazing. P
5 MINUTES WITH WALTER
What is Sydney to you? Sun, beaches, open spaces with water surrounding me. Giving me a feeling of stillness with a connection to mother earth and nature.
Favourite dish at Pure? Nasi Goreng with free range tamari chicken
3 words that are important to you around food? Wholefoods, fresh, life force
Sweet or savoury? Sweet
Red, white or rose? White
What would your last meal be? Raw chocolate caramel slice from Pure
Favourite travel experience? Costa Careyes, Mexico
Winter or Summer? Summer
Go to comfort food? Bread
And finally, running a cafe you must meet a lot of interesting people. Any funny stories to tell? This very conservative lady ordered an extra hot latte and i replied "hot like you?" and then she slapped me across the face. I loved it!
5 MINUTES WITH DINI
What is Sydney to you? Heaven on earth
Favourite dish at Pure? Plantbased Nachos
3 words that are important to you around food? Juicy, Sexy, Lush
Sweet or savoury? Savoury
Red, white or rose? Rose
What would your last meal be? Steamed Kale Omelette
Favourite travel experience? Aro-Ha in New Zealand
Winter or Summer? Summer
Go to comfort food? Hot chips with dutch mayo
Photos shot at Pure Wholefoods, Manly by Heather Cox