One of our most loved Dandenong Market traders is Rhonda Tannous from Why Not Wooden Bakery, she shares with us her wonderful family story behind their success and popularity and what drives them to become bigger and better.
Born in Dandenong Hospital to Lebanese parents, Rhonda met her husband and business partner Kamil (chef at WhyNot) when she was just 14 years old whilst on holiday in Lebanon. Prior to moving to Australia and marrying Rhonda, Kamil worked as a Doctor in Biology and an aluminium fabricator, it was working in a Lebanese bakery with Rhonda that they started dreaming of opening up a business together.
Rhonda’s first introduction to Dandenong Market was working in her cousin’s pizza shop where she realized there was nothing at the market that showcased traditional Lebanese food she grew up with. The combination of Rhonda and Kamil’s experience at the bakery and the gap in the market, convinced them to set up shop and bring to the Dandenong community her love of Lebanese food. Why Not Wooden Bakery was opened in August 2011.
Rhonda’s love of cooking originates from her grandmother who loved cooking the traditional Lebanese dishes. Kamil’s father is also a chef, but he mainly learnt to cook whilst at the bakery in Australia.
Rhonda considers her success to being that she loves engaging with people, she loves to talk, and she “cooks with love”. She would not sell to anyone something she herself would not eat. With many regular customers from as far away as Rye, Dromana, Seaford and Frankston, Rhonda and Kamil have become well known within the Lebanese community and Why Not Wooden Bakery has made a name for itself.
Dedicated to hard work and success, Rhonda arrives at the market in the early hours of the morning where she commences the preparation and baking of her traditional Lebanese pizza and pastries including the popular ‘Zaatar’ (thyme, sesame seed, olive oil on a pizza base and baked in an oven). Also popular are her traditional Lebanese meat pizza’s.
Why Not Wooden Bakery’s shelves are packed with Middle Eastern groceries from rose water and pomegranate syrup to tahini, and the fridge is stocked with haloumi, kibbeh (football-shaped patties of mince and pine nuts) and cans of alcohol-free beer.
On Market days, Brunwick’s Balha’s Pastry delivers freshly made sweets such as knefeh, a semolina-biscuit sandwich filled with clotted cream and drizzled with syrup sugar.
Why Not? Wooden Bakery can be found at W05 in the Meat, Fish & Deli Hall.