Lisa Valmorbida originally planned on a career in interior design, but her heart wasn’t in it. She decided to explore her lifelong interest in food instead, enrolling in a commercial cookery course at Le Cordon Bleu, and cutting her teeth working at Donovans restaurant in St Kilda.
It was an article about Carpigiani Gelato University—a leading global institution for professional gelato training located near Bologna, Italy—that changed everything for Lisa. ‘I have always loved gelato and it sounded like a dream to go to Italy to learn from the best… I love the idea of working to perfect one thing,’ say says.
Lisa graduated from the course, going onto work at one of Italy’s best gelaterias, Alberto Marchetti, in Torino.
In 2013, Lisa set about bringing her gelato expertise to Melbourne. What started as a pop-up shop became her life’s work, with four Pidapipo stores now open across the city.
Customers line up in all weather to sample a rotating host of flavours churned onsite throughout the day with fresh ingredients (no pre-made pastes or frozen fruit). The entire production is proudly on display for customers to see.
The newest store is Pidapipo Laboratorio on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, offering an exclusive eight flavour gelato menu (think white chocolate with pink peppercorn; fig leaf; and Meyer lemon) celebrating local fruit growers and speciality ingredients.
Pidapipo Laboratorio is also a space to facilitate product development, including a new small batch artisanal chocolate range, and ingredients grown on the store’s rooftop. ‘We have no limits to what we can achieve now, so it’s a bit like our playground of sweet desserts,’ Lisa says.
We joined Lisa for a day in the exciting new store!
If I’m doing yoga, I wake up at 6.30am, but otherwise 7am to 7.30am. I have a shower or race to get to yoga on time!
I used to be terrible in the mornings but things have shifted. I’m now better in the mornings and start to get tired towards the end of the day.
I drive to work and start at 9am. It’s amazing to have everyone in the same building now that we have the new Fitzroy store, so I go into the kitchen and say hi and check up on how everything is going. I then check my emails and start the tasks I have to complete.
I used to work a lot from home, so I would make salads every day, but since moving operations to the new Fitzroy store I’ve been racing around and I haven’t had time to make lunch. I’ve been going to Babka for their ham sandwich; or Morning Market, Babajan, and Tahina for their salads.
Depending on the day, afternoons are a jumble of meetings, product photoshoots, recipe testing, product planning, and visiting stores.
I usually finish work around 5pm, although lately it’s been a lot later.
On weeknights I try to eat as healthily as possible, so dinner is usually lots of vegetables and fish or meat.
To unwind, I do yoga, or relax in a sauna or bath.
Spending time with my husband Charlie is how I switch off. I like to get out of Melbourne on weekends and being amongst nature helps me reset.
Bedtime is between 10.30pm and 11.30pm. I can’t function on little sleep!
Right now I’m listening to, watching, and reading…
The White Lotus, and reading Karin Martini’s latest cookbook, Cook.
I get my best work done when…
I’m alone with no distractions. Or have just been travelling and come back energised and inspired.
A philosophy I live and work by is…
Look after people and do things you’re proud of
Something I’ve learned the hard way is…
Don’t leave the freezer door open overnight!