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The Carney brothers

The Carney brothers (image supplied)
The Carney brothers (image supplied)

Meet the three brothers behind Gold Coast cult-favourite Italian restaurant Gemelli Italian… oh and Gemellini, and Roy’s, and their latest Brisbane venture, Gemelli Italian James St! Do Paul, James & Alec really need that much more of an introduction? Famous for their Italian restaurant’s authenticity and wholesome food, we got to know the boys ahead of World Pasta Day on 25 October 2021. Get to know more about their local loves and a sneaky insight into their favourite dishes!

Tell us a bit about yourselves.
Alec & James (28) and Paul (32). We grew up in the Italian rich agricultural community of Griffith in NSW, so have always been surrounded by food and wine. We grew up making pasta sauce and salami every year, so we have had an amazing upbringing in that sense. Hence our passion for our culture and of course, the food that comes with it. We’ve all had times living around various places including going to school in Sydney. James and Alec lived in Sydney and Paul lived in London for a few years prior to all relocating to the Gold Coast – and shortly after starting Gemelli in Broadbeach!

How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
We all moved here back in November 2013, so it’s nearly been 8 years which is crazy! We definitely love being here and call ourselves locals now.

A classic Margherita, Gemelli Italian (image supplied)
A classic Margherita, Gemelli Italian (image supplied)

What do you each love the most about the Gold Coast?
Paul (P): We have some of the most beautiful landscapes here and all so accessible.
James (J): Laid-back lifestyle for sure. Having the beach a stroll away and how the Gold Coast people are is awesome.
Alec (A): How chilled it is as a city. I’ve lived in Sydney before and it’s too hectic, the pace of life is great here.

Tell us how your first venture, Gemelli Italian in Broadbeach, first came about?
J: I was running a restaurant back in our hometown of Griffith in NSW. Our Nonni (Italian grandparents) lived on the GC and we’d always come for holidays here. We saw a gap in the market and were young and hungry to do something! Looking back it was definitely a very gutsy move but being a bit naive and just passionate really helped us, we always had a vision and stuck to it.

What does a typical day in the life of each of you look like?
We try to get up early and get active – beach swim, gym whatever that may be. Then into work for the restaurant, be it in service or meeting with suppliers and staff; then back by night service! Can be very long days, but we love it.

Gemelli Italian, Broadbeach interior (image supplied)
Gemelli Italian, Broadbeach interior (image supplied)

What is your most popular dish across all restaurants?
A: Would probably say our Gnocchi. We hand-make it fresh every day and it’s amazingly soft. It has taken years to perfect it!

If you could only live off three Italian dishes for the rest of your lives, what would they be and why?
P: I’m pasta obsessed – so would have to be Rigatoni Amatriciana… classic dish in Rome and has all the goods you could ever want!
A: Seafood is a big love of mine. So I’d have to go with Spaghetti Vongole. When we were over in Italy, it was that most days for lunch in the hot sun. Just perfect!
J: For those who know – Granita e Brioche. It’s a Sicilian dish of brioche bread and granita which is a sorbet-like fruit. Use the brioche and dip into the granita….that for breakfast is heaven.

If you had to recommend just one Gemelli Italian pasta dish to order for dinner, what would it be?
Rigatoni Ragu – it’s just such a wholesome and delicious pasta. It’s our Nonna’s recipe and it reminds us of special family lunches on a Sunday where we would all get together.

We know a restaurant in Brisbane has been an aspiration of yours for some time, and now since recently opening, what’s next for the Carney brothers?
Try not to kill each other haha! No, it’s been amazing getting to Brisbane, it has been a dream of ours for a while now, and to have it come to life is special. Nothing set in stone but maybe a smaller project – still Italian, but something slightly different perhaps!

Gemelli Italian (image supplied)
Gemelli Italian (image supplied)

What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café:
P: Espresso Moto is for sure. Always spot on, they do a great job in every aspect!
J:  Milkman’s Daughter is perfectly situated at the end of our street and I just love the food there!
Restaurant:
J&A: Itoshin in Mermaid and The Tropic in Burleigh, basically two spots we frequent a lot haha
P: I’ve got a few I love – Lupo, Glenelg Public House, Jimmy Wahs, North Room and Rick Shores is pretty hard to beat on a beautiful day with a wine in hand haha
Bar or pub for a drink:
P: I like to keep it simple and local – a beer at Nobbys Surf Club is ideal.
A: Sitting outside Rick Shores with a Spritz in hand is pretty special.

How do you choose to spend your weekends?
P: We’re normally working to be honest haha! But downtime is definitely chill time and time to recharge the batteries. Relaxing at the beach, eating some nice food, maybe a few glasses of wine. And sometimes trying to get a round of golf in!

Gnocchi Zucca from Gemelli Italian (image supplied)
Gnocchi Zucca from Gemelli Italian (image supplied)

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