Wasabi Japanese restaurant on the Noosa River. Photo: Lachie Millard
Wasabi Japanese restaurant on the Noosa River. Photo: Lachie Millard

Top restaurant up for grabs as owner enters ‘unknown’

AFTER 17 years of providing the Coast with one of the finest dining experiences in Queensland restaurateur Danielle Gjestland is hanging up her chef's hat.

At least for now.

The Sunshine Beach-raised founder and co-owner of Wasabi Restaurant and Bar has decided to sell the multi-award winning Japanese restaurant on the Noosa River.

And she's headed for the country that inspired her success.

"I started the restaurant when I was 24 so I've had it my entire adult life," Ms Gjestland said.

"And during that time my husband has turned down multiple job offers in LA and London but now he's been offered a job in Japan and it's his time.

"For me it's a step into the unknown."

BIG CHANGES: Wasabi executive chef and co-owner Zeb Gilbert is open to new opportunities as Wasabi owner Danielle Gjestland heads overseas. Photo: Contributed
BIG CHANGES: Wasabi executive chef and co-owner Zeb Gilbert is open to new opportunities as Wasabi owner Danielle Gjestland heads overseas. Photo: Contributed

The restaurant and its affiliated cooking school are listed by Advantage Business Sales with the price available upon application.

Ms Gjestland said they were priced to sell quickly as she is set to move to Japan by April when her husband will start his new job.

"I hope someone will pick up the mantle and keep Wasabi going," she said.

"Restaurants like Wasabi are definitely very personal but I hope someone can keep a little bit of what we've created."

Ms Gjestland said it was an "amazing experience" to grow the business with executive chef and co-owner Zeb Gilbert in the region in which they both grew up.

She said Mr Gilbert was open to being on board with new opportunities that might come for Wasabi.

"I'm going to deep dive into Japanese culture and food, grow my language skills and study for Sake exams held in Japan at the end of January 2020," Ms Gjestland said.

"To break with routine and not have the restaurant is unnerving but I've spent a lot of time in Japan and I have friends there so its not entirely foreign."

Wasabi Restaurant and Bar has received the honour of being the only Two Hat restaurant in Regional Queensland.

It first opened at Sunshine Beach in 2003 and after six years was moved to Noosa Sound where it showcases local produce today.

"I'm really happy with what we've created," Ms Gjestland said.

"I never expected it to have such acclaim."