Star chef Alejandro Cancino opens Sunshine Coast Café named Lola’s Pantry

Visit Sunshine Coast Food Ambassador Alejandro Cancino has opened the doors to his own Sunshine Coast cafe: Lola’s Pantry.

Award-winning chef Alejandro Cancino is changing the face of the Sunshine Coast food scene with the opening of his café: Lola’s Pantry.

Alejandro is the former executive chef of Brisbane’s only three-hatted restaurant, Urbane, and has travelled the globe working in some of the world’s top-ranking restaurants.

Now based on the Sunshine Coast, Argentinian-born Alejandro is using his extensive knowledge of the industry to champion his passion for plant-based cuisine.

And Lola’s Pantry, which opened in Kuluin earlier this week, will undoubtedly change the way you view vegan food.

“We don’t advertise this as plant based or vegan, there is nothing on the sign, we just want it to be good food that happens to be vegan,” Alejandro explained.

“It will be food that I am proud of in terms of the flavour and the ethics behind the ingredients.”

On the menu is gnocchi with mushrooms and broad beans, scrambled tofu on toast and a selection of salads and savoury tarts. 

Alejandro relocated to the Sunshine Coast earlier this year with his wife Paola and their 13-month-old daughter, Lola, who the café is named after.

“Every time I do something on the menu I will be thinking of her, would I serve this to her, and would I be happy if she eats this,” Alejandro said.

Alejandro’s plant-based philosophy is one that is shared by an ever-growing vegan community on the Sunshine Coast.

His cafe will work hand-in-hand with local producers and his existing company Fenn Foods, which produces vegan cheeses and condiments.

And while he is currently focused on building Lola’s Pantry, Alejandro said he has not ruled out making a return to fine dining here on the Coast.

“It all depends on what the response is, but I want to do more to develop and research what we can do with plant-based food,” he said.

Through his role as the Visit Sunshine Coast Food Ambassador, Alejandro is helping put the region on the map as a food tourism destination.

Lola’s Pantry is located at 4 Melaleuca St Kuluin and is open for breakfast and lunch 8:30am-3:30pm, Tuesday-Saturday. The café is also open Saturday nights from 5:30pm with a feast-style menu, booking required, and will introduce a Friday night comfort food menu at 5:30pm from next week, no booking required.