Danielle's MINI Cooper

MINI: Pick of the Crop for Noosa Restaurateur.

Dashing between paddock and plate, restaurateur Danielle Gjestland, of Noosa’s famed Japanese restaurant, Wasabi, shares her thoughts on dining, success and inspiration – zipping around in her MINI, naturally. For Danielle, her professional raison d’être is to play a role in people’s happy moments in life.

“When people go out for a special occasion, the restaurant becomes part of their memory of that moment. We become part of their lives, in a way. Making people happy is what makes me happy,” she says. And that journey into the hearts of countless diners, who travel to Noosa from all around the world, begins at Danielle’s Honeysuckle Hill Farm, in Pomona, about 30 minutes from Wasabi. “The farm is where we grow most of our produce and all of the Japanese ingredients for the restaurant. It’s an extremely seasonal situation that we’re in and we’re at the mercy of the weather, which can be extremely hard and sometimes heartbreaking,” Danielle says.

Tenderly examining the current crop of produce bound for Wasabi’s kitchen, the Sunshine Beach native speaks of the destruction nature’s unpredictable elements can suddenly wreak. “But the reward of having those ingredients in Wasabi, and knowing that we’ve grown them ourselves and knowing the love and energy that went into getting them there, is hugely important for us,” Danielle says. Notably, it’s her MINI that Danielle trusts to transport her precious cargo from the farm to the restaurant several times per week. “I load all of the produce straight into the back. Everybody is so surprised by how much I can fit in there!” she says. But Danielle’s MINI is so much more to her than a glorified delivery truck. “My MINI is the first new car I have ever bought and it’s the first major purchase I made after I moved the restaurant from Sunshine Beach to its current location in Noosa Heads. It was a mark of success for me – that I had taken a risk but made the right decision to move. Up until that point every penny I ever had went back into the restaurant. So, it’s more than just a car for me. I love it.”

With that, Danielle takes her leave with some fruitful parting advice.“Surround yourself with people that inspire you. Accept and enjoy that you may spend the rest of your life learning and honing your craft,” she says. From all of us at MINI, who continue to strive to find new ways of enriching everyday life and leisure, we say ‘Amen’ to that.