We chatted with Josh and Ashley Porteous from Bare Naked Bowls about their Toowong cafe.
Tell us about Bare Naked Bowls:
Bare Naked Bowls is a superfood café that specialises in serving delicious Acai Bowls, Superfood Smoothies, Breakfast Bowls, Smoothie Bowls, Locally Roasted Coffee and Raw Treats. We aim to deliver a menu that can be easily adapted for all dietary needs including vegetarian, paleo, vegan, dairy free and gluten free.
We believe in living a conscious and active lifestyle which is the heart of why we have designed a menu that has a focus on nutrient rich foods that give you a healthy boost of energy. Through our cafés, it is our mission to make healthy living effortless and simple.
Bare Naked Bowls is based on the concept that healthy living shouldn’t mean depriving yourself. Our principles are to always use fresh, delicious ingredients bursting with wholesome nutrients to create plant-based foods.
What motivated you to start the first Bare Naked Bowls?
It’s a long story! Ashley and I met volunteering in Arusha, Tanzania in July of 2013. I had given up a corporate life in Sydney to volunteer in some of the poorest countries in the world for one year. Ashley from Santa Barbara, California had worked hard over her summer break from college to volunteer in Tanzania for one month.
As fate would have it, we were sent to the same volunteer house and the rest is history – 2014 was a big year for us – we started a charity together, were married and fell pregnant. However, these times were not without challenges and in mid 2014 we both battled parasites whilst volunteering in Nepal. It was during this time that we realised that living in developing nations was not something we could do full time, we needed time back in western society to focus on our health.
We went about changing our diet and lifestyle. We spent one month in Santa Barbara, California where we were introduced to the Acai Bowl. We had it for breakfast or lunch, before, between or after exercising, to say we came obsessed would be an understatement.
At the same time, we were becoming increasingly interested in organic and superfoods and the benefits they have when introduced into an active lifestyle. This opened our eyes to where our food actually comes from, how it is produced, and the positive effect it has on our health.
We talked constantly about how to balance our lives. The charity and our growing family were the priority, but so was the need for a sustainable business to support what we choose to do. Combine this with our new healthy outlook and everything fell into place. We brought the Acai Bowl to Manly and we were going to do it our way.
We were lucky enough to combine our passions for a healthier lifestyle, our family, better food, building our charity, active lifestyles, and acai bowls. And Bare Naked Bowls was born.
Why do you focus on Acai Bowls?
The benefits associated with Acai are incredible. We were introduced to Acai at a time when our bodies were calling for nutrient-rich wholefoods. Since incorporating superfoods such as Acai in to our diet, we have both experienced the power of these remarkable sources of foods. Acai is laden with nutrients and is composed of large doses of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Each of the Acai Bowls on our menu are constructed in a way that offers our customers a unique combination of superfoods which include ingredients such as organic hemp seeds, goji berries and activated cacao buckinis just to name a few! We find that acai bowls are truly an incredible meal – it fills you up, does not weigh you down, and gives you the energy and nutrition you need to flourish.
What’s unique about your cafe in Brisbane?
Our Toowong store is our first store in Queensland. Acai Bowls and tropical weather made a whole lot of sense when we considered expanding, and we have not looked back since! For the first time ever, the café has been designed in conjunction with Wholehealth Pharmacy, Naked Foods and Australian Sports Nutrition. We all share the same ethos for healthy, wholesome living to lead better, healthier lives. Our aim is to deliver a whole health hub for everyone’s health needs.
What dishes do you offer at Bare Naked Bowls?
We offer a range of breakfast and lunch foods with the aim to source most of our ingredients locally. Similar to the acai bowls are our Brekky and Smoothie Bowls, which are topped with fresh fruits and yummy superfoods such as organic cacao nibs, activated caramelised buckinis, and house made coconut chia puddings. We offer a range of superfood smoothies which are jam packed with nutrients and goodness too.
My [personal] fav is the Naked Berry which is blueberry, natural peanut butter, banana, organic hemp protein, macadamia milk and bush honey! A good alternative to the acai bowl are our superfood toasts – smashed avo, fresh herbs and our Cali blend (our special blend of garlic, onion, organic hemp, sesame and organic chia seeds).
What’s your most popular dish?
It would have to be the Manly Bowl closely followed by the Rio bowl! I think the Manly Bowl is such a hit because it is a good all-rounder, the blend of acai, banana, strawberry, and organic apple juice is such a satisfying combo of flavours. The handmade nut granola on top is to die for. These bowls go out the door like crazy on a hot summer’s day!
What are some of the other products you sell?
Included in our stores are a range of raw treats and protein health balls for all those sweet tooths out there! We’re super passionate about reducing waste and leaving this world a better place than it was when we arrived. We have designed a range of our very own keep cups and bamboo straws available for purchase in store too.
Can you describe a typical day?
In the world of Bare Naked Bowls there is no typical day. We’re now based in Byron Bay so flying between the Sydney and Brisbane stores has become the new norm. We aim to work closely with our franchisees to ensure they receive full support for their business which sometimes means jumping in the kitchen to whip up acai bowls!
Most of our franchisees have children of their own so ensuring they have time for their families is important. It’s never a dull moment at any of our stores, and I thrive off getting to know people, whether it be suppliers, locals and all of our staff across Bare Naked Bowls.
If I buy a dish, where does the funding go?
Bare Naked Bowls was born out of passion to travel, help others, and the strong desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We work hard to maintain a culture that is an authentic representation of our values and our vision for the world in which we want to live. Which is why we are proudly partnered with The International Brothers and Sisters (IBSH) house, a charity that supports orphaned children in developing nations including Nepal and Tanzania.
We strongly believe that education is the key to one day ending world poverty and to that end, a portion of our profits go directly to IBSH and help these children progress into tertiary education.
What do you love most about what you do?
Inspiring others to lead a healthy lifestyle and offering a range of organic wholefoods to our customers. When creating our menu, it was important for us to be inclusive of all dietary requirements. I love that our cafes provide a place for all people to come to and enjoy healthy food options that they may not have tried before.
I love getting to know our suppliers too. Everyone who owns or runs a business has a story, so getting to know their faces and how they have come to be where they are is always rewarding… Also knowing that a portion of our profits are assisting children in gaining an education in third world countries is enough to keep going in itself.
Who or what inspires you?
Positive movements towards healthy lifestyles. It is inspiring to see that education and awareness is becoming more prevalent in Australia around the topics of nutritional education and overall healthier lifestyles. We get inspiration and motivation from each other – We’re always discussing and researching innovative processes and ingredients to offer in our cafes. We love to bounce ideas off each other!
Do you have any plans for the future?
The plan is to expand the Bare Naked Bowls family across the coastal areas of Australia. This would ultimately fund our goal of supporting 100 students from the International Brothers and Sisters House (IBSH) through tertiary education.
About Bare Naked Bowls
Bare Naked Bowls has become recognised as one of Sydney’s favourite superfood cafes. The Acai Bar and Superfood Café has enjoyed great success since the opening of their first cafe in Manly in 2015. Bare Naked Bowls are proud of our motto of “Eat Well, Do Good” and the support they provide to the International Brothers and Sisters House charity with a portion from every sale.
Bare Naked Bowls stores are located in Sydney at Manly, Bronte, Surry Hills, Dee Why and Brisbane.
Bare Naked Bowls is located in the Wholehealth Centre at 55 Sherwood Road, Toowong, Brisbane. (Right on the corner of Jephson Street.)