When she’s not teaching people how to cook, you’ll find Queensland Chef Dominique Rizzo stocking up on fruit and vegetables from her local fruit shop each week.

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We chatted with Dom recently to find out why she believes it’s important to shop local.

“Being a chef for over 20 years has given me the wonderful opportunity to taste so many different, fresh, local and gourmet foods. Bringing all of my knowledge together to write recipes for various websites, campaigns, cooking classes and recipe books I always look to use fresh local produce that is in season and readily available to everyone.

What I love about shopping at my local fruit shop is the owner Sam’s wonderful smile and always friendly welcome whenever I come into the store. He is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to what’s in season, what’s best to be eaten right now and he is always ready to give me tips and ideas from his own Lebanese kitchen.

The important aspects to me when I am shopping is not always based around price, I look for quality, service, atmosphere and that little extra touch of personal treatment that you get with your local fruit shop. Your local fruit shops are always run by the owner, they cherish their customers and want you to experience the best of what they have to offer, so you are important to them, the way their store looks is important to them and they focus on quality and what their customers want in regards to products and service. I am always asking Sam if he can get in specific fruits and vegetables for me for different projects and I always love looking through what’s new in his store as he has a wonderful unique selection of European and Asian/Islander produce that he gets in for his multicultural market. He supports local and will always have his fruit and vegetables labelled as to where they came from. I always commend him on his wonderful array of produce that you rarely find in the supermarkets.

As an independent retailer, Sam always has great specials in his store, and often he is cheaper than the larger chains with his produce being far superior on quality and taste. I am a bit of an old fashioned girl and fondly remember when I was little and mum knowing all of the names of the local shop owners and them knowing us.

Supporting my local fruit shop means a lot to me, I feel that it is important to keep that connection strong with our local suppliers not only to support them in business but also to maintain that special feeling that comes with the experience of shopping the honest way, with a smiling face and someone who knows your name.”