Famous amongst the locals and abroad is the 'Home of Sorrento's Famous Vanilla Slice', Just Fine Food. As soon as you step into the door you are welcomed into the family of Graeme and Judy Howarth. The couple, who originally planned to keep the business for only two years, has become an iconic part of Sorrento in their 22 years of trading. The display case is filled with home-made treats from their quaint kitchen.
The food pumping out of the kitchen is always consistent in quality, with their chef, Paul Egan, having been a part of the business for 22 years, alongside backbone of the business manager, Ida Arnold.
Purposefully keeping it as a piece of Sorrento nostalgia, Graeme and Judy have tied in the menu of honest, comfort- food to complement the building’s heritage. They use their produce from Scicluna’s who source from local growers and producers. The old building, adding to the landscape that is uniquely Sorrento, also comes with its challenges of the small kitchen the team operates in.
“The fact that we produce all those vanilla slices, pies, quiches, cakes day after day is a small miracle.”
From a time when the shops in Ocean Beach Road closed at lunch on Saturday and reopened again on Monday, “we were the first in the street to put tables and chairs outside, and the summer season has now extended from six weeks to almost six months.”
The reputation of the famous vanilla slice is far-reaching. With what originally was sold during the peak period of summer at 200 slices a day with the previous owners, has seen phenomenal growth, now seeing 1,200 vanilla slices walking out the door during their peak period. The signature recipe is a trade-kept secret – the original owners didn’t pass down the recipe until the business was physically bought. The recipe has been tweaked since its inception making for a slice that is a creamier, richer, with a ‘moussier’ custard, and a bigger slice.
From its origins of Judy and Graeme putting in their fair share of the team at Just Fine Food has grown with its increasingly popular clientele. “We think our staff, the ambience and our freshly made food speak for themselves. We are fortunate to have been sought out by various television programs and publications, and we never take our popularity for granted.”