Humans Of Byron ~ Penny / Combi

How did ‘Combi’ first begin? 

We have been in the café business for 10 years. We originally focused on serving organic fair trade coffee at music festivals around Australia from our Kombi van! This grew into us owning a café and eventually over time, as our knowledge & passion for organic food grew, we focused our menu more and more in this direction. As we have expanded it has given us the opportunity to really breathe life into being a stand for wellness, organic & raw. During this time I also studied at The Institute of Integrated Nutrition and The Gerson Institute. Both places really inspired me. In a nutshell, we serve what we love, and so far others have loved it too.

Have you always eaten organic and raw? 
No, not always, but more so as our knowledge about organic grew. It just seemed to make sense to eat this way and source food with the least amount of chemicals possible, that is fresh, seasonal, tastes better and makes us feel good. We love raw food, but we also love a warm bowl of hearty soup, toasted sprouted bread, warm steel cut oats, a roast on a Sunday in winter with lots of veggies and many more things…we don’t exclusively eat or cater for raw foodies, we just have a lot of it on offer as it’s one part of what we love.

Where are your cafés based? 
One is in bayside Melbourne (Elwood) and our second is in Byron Bay.

Why did you decide to bring Combi to Byron Bay? 
We have been visiting Byron for about 10 years, and just adore the community and lifestyle. I love the ocean, salty air and sand in my toes, so I just feel at my happiest in this environment. We always knew we would open a café here, it was just timing on the right place. The community in Byron is also very eco conscious / socially aware / passionate about food, which we love. Everyone supports local business / growers / farmers and people want you to do well. It’s an amazing feeling and we feel blessed to be a part of it.

Where do you see Combi going in the future? 
We are loving this journey, and since opening in Byron only 2 weeks ago we are blown away with the support. We didn’t start this business to build an empire, we are just following what we love. Our focus is to give our attention to Byron, get to know the community, ensure we have the best customer service and quality of food. Then we will look at brand extensions, like some other Combi branded products (we already have products like our organic coffee scrub) and also hosting intimate events in our space on things we love, like local musicians or inspiring speakers.

As much of your product is locally sourced, does your menu change with what is in season? 
Our menu is very large. When you’re passionate about food, it’s tricky to keep it short! So we have a huge selection that offers so much choice, you couldn’t get bored. But we also love creating new things, so as we get a new idea, find a new ingredient or something comes into season, we add these items as specials. So yes, we add things with the seasons.

What is your favourite thing on the Combi menu?
Oh that is tricky! I love all our smoothies. I also love an Acai bowl. But I also love our raw pad thai or avocado on sprouted toast. That’s just too hard, like picking a favourite child 😉

What do you love about living in Byron Bay?
Being by the ocean! And being surrounded with like-minded inspiring people.

Complete this sentence:

My ideal day starts with… a run up to the lighthouse & a dip in the ocean.
and finishes with… cuddles with my fur baby bow wow and a coconut hot chocolate.”

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