Danielle grew up in Sunshine Beach and began her initial career in tourism. After returning from working in London, and with no Japanese restaurants in the Noosa area, she opened Wasabi when she was just 24 in 2003. After 6 years at the original Sunshine Beach site, Danielle moved Wasabi to Noosa Sound along the beautiful Noosa River.
Wasabi has gone from strength to strength gaining momentum each step of the way. Under her guidance Wasabi is nationally recognised, holding 2 Chef Hats and the winner of the Good Food Guide's Regional Restaurant of the Year as well as The Australian's Hottest Queensland Restaurant in its annual Hot 50 List for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
"From its humble beginnings, when a large number of our clients did not eat raw fish to now serving an omakase driven menu where the clients trust the chef, it has been an education for all involved". The process continues with biannual trips to Japan which involves everything from sourcing ingredients, buying ceramics, researching ideas for new dishes and visiting sake breweries. In 2012 work began on the restaurant farm 'Honeysuckle Hill' where Japanese ingredients, that would otherwise not be available, are grown. The farm uses the Japanese system 'Bokashi' where all the organic matter from the restaurant, mixed with micro organism activated rice bran, is used to nourish the soil, completing the paddock to plate circle.
The Cooking School Noosa and Ibento Boutique Event Space is the next step in the evolution of her business as she continues to take the Wasabi Group from strength to strength.
Zeb joined Wasabi Restaurant & Bar as Head Chef in 2013 and brought with him 15 years of experience and extensive knowledge garnered on his travels around Asia.
His driving force remains a focus on using and promoting seasonal produce. Zeb works closely with local producers to ensure that his seasonally driven menus receive only the best the Sunshine Coast has to offer. He takes particular pleasure in cooking with some of the lesser known ingredients grown at Wasabi's own farm, Honeysuckle Hill. The constantly evolving menus allow Zeb the flexibility to experiment with new combinations of ingredients, mixing traditional flavours and modern cooking techniques. He strives to put food on the plate that is beautiful, flavoursome and reflects a sense of place.
In 2016, in conjunction with the launch of The Cooking School Noosa and Ibento Event Space, Zeb joined Danielle Gjestland as co-owner of The Wasabi Group.
Jiro arrived to Noosa directly from Tokyo's Ginza, widely considered to be one of the world's most luxurious shopping districts and is famed for its high end sushi bars.
Jiro trained for 11 years as a Sushi Chef and was working at the Imperial Palace Hotel when he was offered the prestigious position of Head Sushi Chef at Sushi Nakata. This Ginza institution was established in 1945 and today neighbours top fashion houses Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.
He spent his mornings purchasing fish at the Tsukiji Fish Market, the top seafood market in the world, and now spends his time at the docks with our local fishing fleet sourcing the best quality seafood for our seasonally driven menu.
The Cooking School Noosa welcomes Laura Redmond to the team as its co-ordinator. Laura brings a wealth of experience with her including many years working front of house in highly awarded restaurants both in Australia as well as the UK. She is also a qualified psychologist with her focus being on social work with people with disabilities and mental health issues. She has traveled extensively through South East Asia, Europe and parts of Africa. The majority of this travel has been gastronomically motivated.
"I love food. I love trying new things. I love the culture behind food and learning how to cook. I am currently exploring the world of bread making, and love baking with my two young sons."