It always amazes me how much childhood memories revolve around food – big tables, family gatherings, local favourites…we all have them.

For me, many of those memories were established in a once small family owned bakery, known today as the ultimate foodie mecca, Oasis Bakery.

I will never forget walking into the shop and being transported to another world simply with the smells of the delicious food coming out of the oven, the infectious smiles of the Makool family – you knew right then that you were home.

It’s safe to say that the store has gone from strength to strength – but what hasn’t changed is that initial principal, the home just got a little bigger.

So, while Oasis really needs no introduction – the story (which only continues) has a depth that is an inspiration to anyone with a dream, making this interview a true pleasure in more ways than one.

Oasis has been around for so long, I myself remember going in as a child when it was still in the beginning stages – what do you think is the secret behind the success?

The hands-on approach for the family owned business, despite its success and growth has lead the store to maintain the core values that have helped drive it to its success.

Creating great food, we want to share with as many people as we can.

What was the inspiration to expand into the food Mecca that it is today?

Oasis is all about sharing our families love of food and family with everyone else; The growth of the store from a small shop into the current Mecca is the natural progression due to the popularity of the product and the passion behind the store.

The expansion of Oasis means the opportunity to share our food (and other products), and the happiness we hope it brings, with more people which is so exciting for us.

What are the secrets to business success?

  • Family – customers, workers – we’re all one family.
  • Generosity
  • Hospitality
  • Honesty – it was always really important to feed our customers what we would feed our family.

Congratulations on opening a store in Mornington! Will it be the same concept? What made you choose the location?

Thank you! We are so excited about our Mornington store and cannot wait to share it with everyone!

Although it will have similar concepts it will be on a grander scale, with a far more extensive deli and butcher range, a petting zoo and a large upstairs function space.

Oasis Bakery, Murrumbeena. Photo © Ari Hatzis

Mornington was a clear choice for a new location, there are no stores in the area similar to what we have to offer and we feel as though we will be filling a gap in the market that locals will be thrilled about. We also already had many customers making the trip to Murrumbeena from the Mornington so knew the customer/community support would be there.

What are the 3 ‘must haves’ to try when visiting Oasis?

  • Our Lamb Shawarma, we won The Weekly Review’s 2016 Must Eat award for this delicious wrap and you really can’t go wrong, shaved lamb, lettuce, tomato, pickled cabbage, onion & tahini… YUM
  • Our Halloumi Fries, these are new to the menu recently and there is nothing to fault about these, crunchy, gooey, delicious deep-fried halloumi sticks.
  • Our artisan house baked sourdough bread, from your regular white loaves to our zaatar and sesame loaves we bake a full range of sourdough bread every day suitable for any (and every) occasion!

Marwa, congratulations on your upcoming cookbook Yalla Yalla! I know the first book Yallateef was hugely popular…

What was the inspiration behind this book?

The word Yalla means ‘hurry’ – which is big part of what these recipes are all about.

Yalla Yalla is designed for the busy lifestyle so many of us are living, it’s quick and healthy recipes for the whole family – that are also delicious.

This is really a way of creating a symbiosis between our kitchen and the kitchens of our customer, creating meals with Middle-Eastern twists that I hope will become family favourites.

What does the future hold?

The future for us holds only bigger and better things, we are so excited to open the Mornington Store and continue to grow and share our passion for our products with as many people as we can.

Most importantly though, we want to keep Oasis at the same level, keeping our customers happy, making it easier for them to shop and eat healthy – it’s all about the customer, all about family.