Ten years ago, Eleni Tsementzis was diagnosed with gluten, dairy and fructose intolerances, presenting her with a lifetime of dietary limitations. Three months ago she opened Belandre Coffee Hub- an allergy-friendly cafe at Central South Morang- to give other with food intolerances a place to eat out.
What suburb do you live in, and how long have you lived there?
I have live in South Morang for eight years. We came here for our kids and the schools.
What do you like about where you live?
That it offers more of a country lifestyle than suburbia. We wanted quiet. When we first moved in it was paddocks everywhere and within two years there was a full estate. But it is still a nice quiet area that we live in.
What, if anything, would you change about South Morang?
Nothing. I like it the way it is. I don’t want more transport, that’s why we moved here. I love it here. I was brought up in the south-eastern suburbs and it was very suburbia. It was just too full-on, so this is really lovely.
Where did the idea for the cafe come from?
I have been industry 22 years. It was because I suffered from allergies, and it was more about that it was so difficult to go and find anywhere to eat.
We decided that instead of opening up a normal cafe, we would open somewhere that could treat people with all allergies.
How have your allergies impacted on your life and your cooking?
I was diagnosed 10 years ago. Being a cook, it didn’t take me long to work out what I could and couldn’t eat. I’ve just taken my home cooking and made changes.
How difficult is it to eat out when you have food intolerances and allergies?
Nobody is happy to make changes to the menu for you or they can’t because of contamination. It is difficult because a lot of people don’t just have an intolerance, they have a full allergic reaction. I very rarely eat out.