The doors of Stella’s Pantry opened on Friday, 7 March 2014 after a lot of hard work. This dream has been in the making for many years and couldn’t have happened without the love and support of both of our families and friends. We enjoyed three years in our space in the Cinema arcade but in April 2017 made the move to a bigger space on Victoria St. Our new home has allowed us to incorporate a café showcasing the amazing retail products we stock as well as seasonal salads (and a team of staff you can read about below!).
A little about us:
Growing up I would spend my weekends at my grandparent’s farm in Nilma North where I would help my grandpa in his garden and grandma in the kitchen, learning all I could about food from the both of them. For the last 12 years I have been working with food in both retail and hospitality learning as much as possible to prepare me for opening this business. I was lucky enough to travel to both the Middle East and Spain for my last job and learnt a great deal about different cuisine and cultures, I can’t wait for the day I go back to Spain. I love food, cheese in particular, as I am intrigued by the diversity of products that all start from four basic ingredients – milk, salt, rennet and starter culture! I love sharing all the wonderful products that are available with the people of Warragul and surrounds.” – Stacey
I grew up in Gippsland and loved biology at school so I decided to do a science degree, majoring in botany and zoology. A lot has happened since then – I still have a keen interest for research. I’ve spent the last two years in Mackay working in the sugar cane industry. I’ve always been interested in food, I never stop eating, I was a real sweet tooth. Since a few health issues, suffering dietary intolerance and mostly a lack of energy I embarked on a journey with my aunty, who is a naturopath. I work each day on feeling better, being more self-caring and listening to my body’s needs. As a result, the food I eat (I don’t like the word diet) has changed. That’s what is really driving me at the moment. Working on my own health and sharing my ideas, research and experiences with others. My business partner Stacey has always wanted to own her own shop. I’ve wanted to create something for myself for a while now so the timing was right to put our interest together to form Stella’s Pantry. What a perfect platform to explore both our interests further! – Bella
To me, food is the connection between an emotion and a moment – that’s why I love it, to create the little piece of magic that connects the two to create a memory. I began an apprenticeship of commercial cookery here in Warragul before moving to Melbourne, then electing that the crazy fast paced environment wasn’t the place for my 19 year old self at the time. Re-discovering my love for food was found once back again where it all began in Warragul, and most of all at Stella’s. After having a very active lifestyle it’s my goal to create fresh and wholesome food that can nourish the soul. My long term goal would be to open my own breakfast café on the coast of Australia, but that’s not until Bella & Stacey are sick of me! – Elise Russell, aka kitchen superstar!
Almost two years ago I moved onto my partners dairy farm. It was quite a change but I love animals and enjoy working on the farm and getting to ride my bike around the property. Since living on the farm I’ve grown passionate about supporting local products and people. I love the idea of growing and eating your own food.
Coming from a hospitality background I have always had an interest in food. I love finding and learning about new products and look forward to sharing them with you! – Karlee Attard, here to serve and party, but mostly serve 🙂
I’ve been making coffee for the past four years at different cafes around Gippsland. In the last three years I have travelled to more than 15 countries within Europe and Asia. I have found from travelling my love of food and my appreciation of Melbourne coffee. I have been vegan for the last five years, at first it was just because of my love of animals but throughout the years I have become so passionate about the effect of the meat and dairy industries on the environment and how we all need to change our habits to create a better future for generations to come – Lucy Wagner, aka the shy barista!
When I was younger I was always a keen cook, cooking meals and baking for my family and friends. After finishing high school I tried my hand in the health sector at university but later learnt that food was my real passion. After finishing my certificate 3 & 4 in commercial cookery and diploma of hospitality at William Angliss I began my own journey with my own business – All Degrees Catering and now combine my own work with working at Stella’s and love it! Amy Obrien, aka cake queen!
I grew up in Gippsland and I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for around 20 years, in all aspects from fast food to fine dining, even owning my own café. My love for the industry started in my teens, then expanded to exploring all that food has to offer in a myriad of different jobs and personal experiences that has taken me to Melbourne, then Europe and finally back home. I’m an avid home cook and I love turning amazing produce into something that can nourish friends, family and the community. I’ve been particularly excited about the change in Gippsland over the years, and how many talented people are coming or staying in this area; diversifying and showcasing how amazing the region really is in terms of food, coffee and wine. I guess that because of this excitement I can’t seem to have just one job at a time! I feel like a kid in a candy store working at Stella’s, so many amazing ingredients gathered from many passionate producers. Combining my work at Tamsin’s Table and now Stella’s is the perfect mix, I can’t wait to help you in any way I can – Damien Riley, if you don’t know him where have you been the last 20 years?
Why Stella? To some it is obvious others are kept wondering, the name Stella was thought up by my lovely Aunty – Kerry Wagner. I remember driving home from work one night and receiving a call from Kerry she was so excited “why don’t you call it Stella’s – a combination of your two names?” well what a great idea, why hadn’t we thought of this ourselves? Our business is about combining the things we are passionate about – food, cooking from scratch, helping others and friendship of course! So a big thank you to Kerry, although we are both constantly called Stella we love it!