TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN STORIES give you an insight into many of the local businesses and characters you will find when you Escape to Tamborine Mountain.



One of Tamborine Mountain’s most innovative eateries, Spice of Life is a café and deli (among a host of other facets) that  has been running for nearly 15 years. We explore the secrets behind this hot (and spicy) spot. – by Kyle Hitchmough

Where did your drive to open this café come from?

I’ve always had an interest in hospitality. I worked in hospitality in Germany, I ran this place previously under a different name, and I’ve always been interested in food.

How would you describe the identity of a place like this to someone who might not have been here before?

It’s a place where locals eat and meet because of the location. We’re not on Gallery Walk, we’re here for the locals. In the meantime, a lot of people from off the mountain—I call them “further locals,” the Beaudesert and the Jimboomba folk have found us too. They might only come once a fortnight or once a month, but they have become locals as well. Some people come in two to three times a day, so they basically become our family.

Do you specialise in a particular kind of food?

No, not really, because our clientele is so varied. Some days our clientele is more the locals and the older people, other times we get a lot of motorbike riders and younger clientele, so the menu needs to reflect that.

So Spice of Life is a combined café and deli, and you offer catering services too?

The deli items again came from my interest in food,  at the beginning we only had food items. But we’ve moved more into gift items especially around Christmas time. The catering just links in. We do party platters, we do weddings, we do birthday parties, that sort of thing. Especially now that more people want to self-cater for their weddings, that’s where we come in.


You have a large collection of novelty gifts like clocks and several other interesting knick-knacks. Where did that angle come from?

One sale doesn’t take away from another sale. People can only eat once! But they can also take things away. It’s just add-on sales. I look around, go to the gift fair, and look for novelty items that nobody’s got up here. I try to change it regularly— when I see something new, something else goes. Keeping it fresh for the locals so there’s always something interesting to see. I started the clocks about two years ago because they appeal to people’s interests. Some people are animal lovers, some people are home decorators, some people need novelty gifts for husbands and uncles and people that are hard to buy for… Everybody’s got a niche interest.

What does your role as owner entail?

Over the years I’m less and less involved in the day-to-day running, I’ll just do a couple of days to keep my finger on the pulse and see that it runs smoothly, and where things need more training. My main task is account-keeping, keeping an eye on costings, wages, rostering, sourcing new product, going to food shows to see what comes up. I go to Melbourne and check out cafes there, since all the food trends come from Melbourne. It’s a combination of fun and work!

Are you a local to the area? What’s your opinion on the Tamborine Mountain area?

I’ve been up here for 35 years so if that makes me a local, then yes! Obviously I love the area. I come from a city in Germany and I came straight to the Mountain, and just got stuck here. It’s the village feel and it has close proximity to two major centres. And the greenery, because I come from a very green area in Germany, so it’s the lushness of the place that attracts a lot of Europeans up here, including me. It’s just a great place to raise a family, and that’s how I started off. My children have all moved on now but I just love the place.

What do you think a place like this provides to the area beyond just food? What makes this place unique?

It’s the European influence. We do all our cakes ourselves, and for that I use a lot of my German recipes which give it a point of difference. People come in especially for our cakes, since they know they’re not the cakes you see in every café all over the place. It’s a touch of European feel with a touch of Australian.


What do you enjoy most about owning and operating this place?

Dealing with people. Trying to give the best service I can to people, and working with food. I just love creating new recipes, creating new products, finding new trends and implementing them. It’s all a challenge.

What’s your personal favourite thing you sell here?

My favourite thing that I sell or that I eat? Not everything I sell I eat myself, because you cannot make the mistake that you only have what you like yourself, because you’re not doing the shop for yourself you’re doing it for all sorts of people. But the favourite thing for me to eat would be probably my German torts. Black Forest tort, strawberry tort, because they’re very European cakes. Favourite thing to sell is probably our Death By Chocolate cake, which I have been doing for 14 years and it’s still one of the favourites of the locals.

Is there anything else you’d like to go on the record?

Just that we’re open every day of the year, even Christmas, Easter, whatever. It’s easy to remember: we’re always open!

Spice of Life Cafe & Deli