The Old Days
Armed with heritage, traditions passed down through generations and $3000, Kumari Spices ‘N’ Things was founded by Richard and Alice Fernandes in 1990. They began their spice trades from a tiny stall space in the then famous Paddy’s Markets of New Farm, Brisbane. The store has since relocated to the Northside of Brisbane in Virigina.
Richard is of a marine engineering background. He left India at the age of 18 to explore the world, sailing on square riggers, clipper ships, schooners , and the typical Mediterranean “daddies” yachts. His passion to travel has seen him dock and live in over 30 countries, and become savvy in 13 languages and dialects as a result. (Many of our migrant customers pop-in and enjoy a conversation with Richard in their mother tongue.)
The year of 1970 finally brought Richard to Australia, where he then chose to anchor his life more permanently. Passionate about the marine industry, Richard initially journeyed throughout Australia building boats and becoming involved in a number of marine activities from the Torres Straits to Port Headland. During this time he even began his own boat building business on Breakfast Creek in Brisbane.
A number of changes in his life, one of the greatest being diagnosed with a degenerative eyesight condition known as Retinitis Pigmentosa, resulted in Richard leaving the boat building business behind. Until its close in 1989, Richard then pursued work in an organisation called IINA (“we are here” in Torres Strait Island language) which was devoted to creating opportunities and skills development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island individuals and communities. During this time he met his future wife, Alice. She came to Australia in 1988 due to the Fiji coup, and has a family background in sugar cane farming and an educational background in accountancy.
With the state of his eyesight worsening, Richard and Alice decided to enter into a spice business as an alternative way to ensure an income for their family should his eyesight fail completely. Together, they reinvented themselves to become experts in the spice trade. Trial and error, and many long hours of hard work have resulted in a successful small retail and wholesale business that is now a household name for many within the Brisbane ethnic communities, restaurants, caterers and more.
Now and the Future
Our store in Brisbane continues to attract customers from wide and varied backgrounds. Products are sold all over Australia and have been favoured as far as the Americas. Looking to the future, projects and ideas are well under way to widen the business’ scope to be able to continue to offer our customers the world in culinary delights.
Passionate about sourcing only the best quality products available, we hope to soon succeed in growing our own spices and other products. Not only this, but Alice’s knack for tantalising anyone’s tastebuds with her cooking is an experience that we now wish to share with our customers. Bringing with her some traditional Fiji Indian recipes from the family treasury, Alice also enjoys trying her hand at different cuisines and experimenting to create fusion dishes. From her homemade pickles, to her famous ‘Ring of Fire’ chilli relish and Tamarind Chutney condiments, to her curries, chapattis and Indian sweets.
We thank-you for your support and look forward to seeing you around.
(07) 3265 2099