Ross Gray and staff member Leanne Boyce of Dampa Dampa.
Ross Gray and staff member Leanne Boyce of Dampa Dampa. Brett Wortman

A twist to bring in the dough

AN ICONIC Aussie food created by First Fleet pioneers in the early days of white settlement has been given a new twist thanks to modern-day flavour pioneers Ross and Christine Gray.

The two have no background in food retail, but have been audacious enough to flavour damper with such things as basil, bacon, cheese, spinach, fetta, white chocolate, Turkish delight, Violet Crumble, dates and figs.

They have even downsized the traditional damper loaf into smaller, individual portions that can be sliced in half to take sandwich fillings, placed on top of meat pies or baked as a sausage roll.

Ross has worked in building design and project management, while Christine was a florist, writer and school teacher. They had lived in the UK for the past 20 years before moving to the Coast this year.

"The idea all started with Christine making damper for our friends at barbecues in the UK. She made large ones and they always went very well.

"We came back here looking for an opportunity and that idea came up, but we wanted to make them with different flavours so you could have them with a cup of tea or coffee."

Dampa Dampa opened on the surf club end of the Mooloolaba Esplanade a month ago, with four staff and a commitment to only use Australian ingredients. The coffee is roasted at Noosa and the dampers made by a commercial bakery in Kunda Park.

"We are thinking of rolling out managed sites, more than franchises, in future," Mr Gray said.

"We are growing all the time and we are concentrating on locals with a loyalty program."

The Grays tested their product at the Caloundra farmers' markets for six weeks before taking the leap into business.


Anna Bligh dropped in to Dampa Dampa while in Mooloolaba earlier this month and she even Tweeted about it.

"Dampa Dampa" great new cafe across from Mooloolaba SLSC - good stuff - drop in & try it!" she said.

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