Velluti keeps top chefs in fresh supply | MARKETS PROFILE

Velluti keeps top chefs in fresh supply | MARKETS PROFILE

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John Velluti's Italian heritage was not what got him into selling fresh produce.

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MARKETS PROFILE

FRESH: Velluti's The Fruit & Vegetable Company managing director, John Velluti, says he fell in love with the fresh produce industry.

FRESH: Velluti's The Fruit & Vegetable Company managing director, John Velluti, says he fell in love with the fresh produce industry.

John Velluti, managing director, Velluti's The Fruit & Vegetable Company, Sydney Markets

Tell me about Velluti's

VELLUTI'S - The Fruit & Veg Company is family owned and run.

We are a premier fruit and vegetable providore that has grown from our love of good ethically produced food.

From a small fruit barrow on Manly wharf, to operating a business that supplies many of Sydney's finest chefs such as Matt Moran and Neil Perry, our team works closely with our merchants and growers to create a reliable service for our customers.

We have also recently taken over Frank's Fruit Market in Haberfield, a fruit shop since 1974, in Sydney's inner so now we not only provide Sydney's top restaurants with exceptional fruit and vegetables, we provide consumers as well.

What sets your business apart from other providores?

We are very much about the quality of the relationships we have with our customers.

Our level of service, our attention to detail and willingness to really work for our customers sets us apart from other providores and retailers.

What do you specialise in?

I love to support and deal direct with small farmers and businesses to provide our customers with the very best produce - our chefs expect it as do our customers at Frank's Fruit Market.

Where do you source your produce from?

Most of our produce is sourced from the Sydney Markets however in saying that there are quite a few small growers that we deal directly with.

We have a tireless passion for supporting local Australian growers.

Who are your customers?

While we provide all the top end produce for leading chefs like Matt Moran, Neil Perry and Damian Pignolet we also supply lots of smaller restaurants and cafés for whom quality produce is important.

Although we have a fantastic team I am still very much the account manager for the business which means that I continue to be hands-on with all our customers - they can always call or text me direct.

How did you get into the fruit and veg business?

I was studying to be a chartered accountant until I met my father-in-law to be for breakfast one morning at the market where he was an agent.

From that moment on I knew that the market was the place for me so he organised a job for me and here I am today.

CHANGE: Velluti's The Fruit & Vegetable Company managing director, John Velluti, with Frank Bonfante in what used to be his fruit shop until Mr Velluti bought it.

CHANGE: Velluti's The Fruit & Vegetable Company managing director, John Velluti, with Frank Bonfante in what used to be his fruit shop until Mr Velluti bought it.

The ironic thing is that because I am of Italian decent everyone automatically assumes that I inherited my place in the fruit and vegetable industry but it was my Australian wife's family who were in the business.

My dad was actually horrified at the time.

My first business was a little fruit barrow at Manly Wharf, as a bit of a sideline, which my wife Bree and I ran until they terminated the lease when the wharf was renovated.

We then bought a fruit shop which went well; we sold that and while I was looking for another fruit shop to buy a mate of mine introduced me to the chef, Matt Moran, so I started supplying select produce to him and the business grew from there.

What has changed at the market over the years?

Small business has really come under the hammer in more recent years so you have think ahead of the pack and keep up with the changes.

What is the best thing about working at the market?

From the moment I first experienced the market to this day, I still really enjoy working there; I love the atmosphere, the people, the characters and getting up early in the morning.

What would you change at the market if you could?

The governing authority at the market needs to stay more in tune with the market stakeholders.

What is most challenging about the industry?

One of the most challenging things for us as an industry is that people don't cook for themselves and families like they used to.

What is the secret to a successful business?

We need to continue to deliver the personal approach and quality produce to all our customers. Personally, I want to spend more time face to face with our customers.

What does the future hold for the fruit and vegetable industry?

I am very excited about the future for our business and the industry.

There are still plenty of people out there who want good quality produce and personal service we just have to continue to cater for them, we can't please everyone!

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