Giorgia McAllister Forte spent two years at Claire Ptak’s Violet Cakes in London (a bakery perhaps best known for making Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding cake) before moving to Melbourne and working at All Are Welcome for four years. She opened her own spot, the tiny Monforte Viennoiserie in Carlton North, in 2020.

“I’ve always wanted to be a pastry chef – the maternal side of my family ran hotels and ice-cream parlours in the UK before I was born, so I like to think it’s in my blood,” she tells Broadsheet.

We asked the chef – whose leatherwood honey and sea salt croissant is undoubtedly one of the best pastries in Melbourne – where she eats when she’s not laminating dough or serving up soft serve.

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What’s your go-to for a quick takeaway?
Horn Please. It’s the best for a rainy night in. My top pick is the malai kofta and palak paneer, but I also love their dahl.

How about lunch on the go?
The spicy potato and veggie gozleme from Borek & Gozleme on Elizabeth Street. It’s a good one to munch while walking to the Queen Vic Market.

And for a drink and snacks?
Neighbourhood Wine is one of my locals and is great for a long lunchtime graze with wine. Chips are a must – with extra aioli.

Where can you find the best comfort food?
Mankoushe in Brunswick East. You can’t go past the za’atar bread – maybe the best one in Melbourne – to mop up the baba ganoush or the olive oil aftermath left from the sauteed chicory with fried onion.

Where do you go for a big meal?
I’m obsessed with the ajo ojo peperoncino at Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca. The toothsome noodles, the warm spice. Add in the honeyed focaccia and a couple of sides and you’ve got a very happy girl.

If you’re recommending a spot for a first date?
My partner and I had our first date at Monty’s. It’s easygoing and fun with good drinks. Plus, you can get pizza from 1000 Lire next door delivered to the bar. For want of a better term, I’m a carb queen.

If you’re going out with parents?
Both my partner and I took our parents to Manze when they visited. It’s delicious food delivered with pure skill and joy.

What’s your bucket list restaurant?
A little over a year ago we were lucky enough to stay at Casadonna Reale a hotel and restaurant by Niko Romito in Abruzzo, Italy. It was everything it should have been and more, showcasing beautiful produce, technique and attention to detail over countless courses through dinner, and breakfast the following morning.

I Can’t Stop Thinking About: Monforte Viennoiserie’s Leatherwood Honey and Sea Salt Croissant