The tale of: Klarisa Cengic from The Goods Wholefoods

Canberra is spoilt for choice when it comes to great quality food, and The Goods located in No Name Lane in the City certainly lives up to its name with carefully selected produce and curated dishes to nourish your body. Their motto is ‘ Good food, good life’ and we couldn’t agree more with the trendy wholefoods cafe and salad bar.

We sat down with the owner Klarisa Cengic recently to find out more about her and the mission for The Goods Wholefoods. How it began and how she balances it all now being a busy, innovative business owner in our city.

Tell us a little about you and how you got into the food industry?

I’ve grown up always surrounded by food. My grandma and mum were always great cooks, and really instilled a love for good, quality food, into me from day one. My very first job was in hospitality, and I continued to work in hospitality while at university to support my studies. Then after university and a brief stint working in marketing, I went on to open 80/20 food with my sister and now The Goods! I love the connection that food brings. It can provide instant gratification and also acts as a tool to foster community, love and generally bring people together over something that can be so simple. It’s all these things combined that have got me to where I am now.

How did the concept of The Goods Wholefoods come about and when did it all start?

I loved my time at 80/20, working with my sister and I learnt so much while I was there. Near the end of 2017, I had a little feeling that I wanted to step out on my own and take on my next big challenge, also recognising that Canberra lacked in quick healthy options. I found a perfect little space in the new No Name Lane precinct and knew that I wanted to have a quick but healthy fast food focus, and that’s really how it all came about. Our premise from day one has always been based around a “good food, good life” philosophy. We’re all about making people fell good, whether that’s through the food we’re providing, the interaction with staff or just the general hangout too. We want people to leave The Goods, feeling a little better every time! Its now been almost 1.5 years and we’re continuing to grow and there is lots on the horizon to starting showing and educating people on how to make beautiful, wholesome food at home!

What is your go-to day on a plate?

My plate changes so much – I really eat what my body is feeling, but generally it would go something like this:

Breakfast: if I’m in the mood for a sweet breakfast I’ll have a breakfast bowl with chia, bircher, greek yoghurt and sometimes a little scoop of peanut butter or if I’m feeling something savoury I’ll have the Avo & Tomato toast (avo, tomato, herbs, sunflower pesto on wholemeal miche) from The Goods, but I’ll sub the avo for beetroot hummus because I’m allergic – tragic, I know, and add a boiled egg on too!

Lunch: always a mixed salad bowl with a scoop of hummus and ACV dressing! Lately I’ve been loving our quinoa tabouleh and raw summer salad, both super fresh in this hot weather.

Dinner: during the week we’ll generally have protein with veg. Something like grilled turmeric & yoghurt marinated chicken breast with roasted veg and a simple green bean salad. I’m obsessed with green beans so you’ll find those on our dinner table a lot. Over the weekend I like to take a bit more time cooking different recipes. I love cooking stews, pastas, basically everything haha! Finding new recipes and cooking techniques is something that I love playing around with on the weekend.

Do you have any go-to products you recommend?

I’m obsessed with Go-To Face Hero. I use it every night and sometimes more if my skin is feeling a little dry. Also Lush Helping Hands hand cream is a godsend for anyone working in hospitality!

Who has been your most high profile client?

I don’t think we really have just one! We are so grateful for absolutely everyone that walks through our doors. Without the support of our community we wouldn’t exist, so we’re just so happy to see every one that walks through.

What has been the most challenging experience you have faced in business?

Sooo many challenges haha! I think probably overcoming fear is definitely one of them. Challenging yourself to do something even though you don’t necessarily know exactly how its going to go. Also growing the business but also be conscious of how I’m spending my time. Am I better off in the business or better off working on the business. It’s a constant battle but something I feel like I’m starting to get a handle on.

And the best experience?

Definitely all the amazing people and connections I’ve made along the way. Whether it’s a customer that I’ve randomly struck up a conversation with, which leads to me helping them with salad/dinner ideas. Hiring and meeting amazing new staff members. Also generally just meeting a whole bunch of new people that you can share ideas with, that I would never have met without having my business.

What does balance mean to you?

Balance is a little tricky when you own your own business. For me balance is about incorporating small things into my week which help ground and rejuvenate me. For me that’s a weekly yoga sesh, cooking a new fun recipe and also finding moments in between all the craziness to just take 5 to be present in the moment – something that I’ve been practising lately that’s really helped me to relieve stress and focus. I think when you own your own business, well for me at least, I’m never not thinking about my business which I’m now very okay with because this is the life I’ve chosen. Its just important to make sure that I take those small in between moments and that’s how I find balance.

Who inspires you?

Everyone I meet through doing what I do. I’ve learnt so much from so many different people, I suck up all the inspiration through the many different conversations and connections I’m fortunate to foster with people. Also, my family are a big inspiration. My grandparents for their strength and courage in moving and making a new country home, my mum who is always there for guidance and endless support and my partner, Matt, who is the hardest working and most caring person I know.

Describe your typical day in a life:

5am: Two alarms, then I’m up haha!

6am: Arrive at The Goods and start setting up for the day.

6:30am-2pm: work work! Coffee machine, making smoothies, making salads, meetings etc!

2pm: Eat some salad

2:30-4:30: Head home & either do boring bookwork or fun creative stuff, like new menu planning, collabs etc Usually the latter occurs more, much to the dismay of my bookkeeper.

5pm – 6pm: Gym at Evolve in Lyneham. A mix of strength and cardio.

6:15pm-8: Shower, cook and eat dinner

8pm: a little bit more laptop work or if I want to chill, I love watching a little David Attenborough on netflix

9pm:   sleep

© Lyndon Marceau / marceauphotography

KLARISA in a flash:

Coffee or tea?


On your bedside table we’ll find:

Water bottle, book I’m currently reading, latest copy of the Gourmet Traveller magazine, phone

Favourite flowers:


Book you are currently reading:

The Hungry Brain by Stephan Guyenet

Signature scent:

La Tulipe – Byredo

5 can’t-live-without handbag contents:

Laptop, mobile, water bottle, pen & notebook, lipbalm

Images of Klarisa by Lyndon Marceau

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