An ideal dayfor Matt and Annie Taylor is to fish and crab in the Pumicestone Passage or the offshore reefs of Moreton Bay and then prepare a tasty meal from their catch to entertain friends and family. So when the opportunity arose for them to own their own seafood business, it was too good to miss.
The Taylors took over the long-established Marsay Brothers Seafood almost five years ago and have transformed the fish and chipperyand fresh produce favourite into Seafood Market @ Caloundra – an all-round foodie’s delight that is attracting regular customers from outside the Sunshine Coast region.
It took the couplejust six months to “find their feet” and start to transform the business. From then on, customers were delighted to see a continuous stream of new and exciting deli items and pre-made take-home meals on offer.
“We can comfortably say that we’ve got the largest range of fresh and cooked fish and seafood products in the region. We wanted to be innovative and offer people more than just fish and chips and fresh fish, so we got creative and our chefs also expanded their repertoire and now we are market leaders,” Mr Taylor says.
On top of sourcing fresh local seafood daily from trawlers at Mooloolaba and Scarborough,the trade qualified chefs at Seafood Market @ Caloundra have a vast array of experience with seafood and work their magic to create restaurant-quality delights suchhalf-shell scallops toppedwithsmokedsalmon and camembert, oysters kilpatrick and mornay, chargrilled bugs and prawn as well as creative mouth-watering weekly specials, just to name a few.
“It’s about offering more and having a point of difference. The best thing is, that these restaurant quality options are available at fish and chip prices,” Mr Taylor says.
With more Coast residents being time-poor and looking for easy ways to eat of an evening, Mr Taylor says they wanted to make it easier by not only having healthy options on the menu, such as the chargrilled section and salad bar, but by offering pre-made meals that people can take home and simply heat and serve. These includecrab and prawn lasagnes, king prawn and salmon sausages, curried prawn and scallop pies, seafood chowder,garlic prawns,lobster mornay pies, crab and prawn bisque, sandcrabravioli, fish korma and prawn laksa. Everything is freshly made in-house with the seafood they offload dailyfrom the trawlers.
“We have shared some of the recipes that we cook at home and our chefs have created some spectacular meals and people love it. The seafood chowder is probably the biggest seller. We’ve sold over 10,000 serves of the chowder in both the fresh and takeaway versions. It is a family recipe that goes back two generations and one we have loved at home. Its success speaks for itself,” Mr Taylor says.
As if all of these options aren’t enough, Seafood Market @ Caloundra also have a range of deli lines from infused olive oils, flavoured salts, five different mayonnaises to prawn and mango dip, chunky crab dip, smokedsalmon dip, smoked tiger prawns and mussels, marinated calamari, whisky cured salmonand much more.
“All these value-adds are bringing people in and making us a talking point. We have customers that come down from Noosa and the hinterland and even as far away as Gympie and Toowoomba on a weekly basis and the good thing is they then go on to spend in the Caloundra CBD, which is great to see. To get to the point where we are a destination that draws people in to spend their money in town is very rewarding and we will be expanding again this year with another top-of-the-line offering, but it’s top secret for now,” Mr Taylor says.
With a winning recipe for their business, they have almost doubled their staff numbers from around 15 to 30, all Caloundra residents and they also contribute around $20,000 each year to the community through sponsorships of local sporting and community groups.
“We’ve always had a love of catching fish and making them into healthy family meals and we felt this business went hand in hand with that. We are pleased to give people another option and to satisfy consumer’s want for more choice and healthier choices. While fish and chips continue to be popular, there is often one member of the family who would prefer something else and we can cater for them with what we have on offer,” he says.