Annie Malone set to retire in 2022 after over 30 years of running Natural Temptation

End of an era: Annie Malone will retire this year after more than 30 years running the Natural Temptation Cafe. Picture: supplied
End of an era: Annie Malone will retire this year after more than 30 years running the Natural Temptation Cafe. Picture: supplied

It was in 1985 when Naturally Good Café owners, Annie Malone and Katrina Bogdanoff, were asked if they would consider moving their café into the newly built, Bunbury Centrepoint.

Their café, which was located within the Good Earth Health Food and Surf Shop, specialised in offering vegetarian lunch bar style meals.

The Centrepoint leasing agent had visited the café for a homemade, Vietnamese roll when he casually mentioned that the shopping centre was in need of their services.

I just want to say thank you to all my customers over the last 30 years - because without you, we wouldn't be here or had the beautiful journey that we have."

The Natural Temptation Cafe owner, Annie Malone

"I remember he said you girls should set your café up in the new shopping centre," Ms Malone told the Mail.

"And we told him we didn't want to because we were a health food shop and shopping centres were too commercial for us.

"But it was when he said they'd get another café that would be competition for us that we changed our minds."

In 1989, The Natural Temptation Café was born, and has been offering specialty food to the Bunbury CBD for over 30 years.

The original, Natural Temptation Cafe in the Bunbury Centrepoint in 1989. Picture: supplied

The original, Natural Temptation Cafe in the Bunbury Centrepoint in 1989. Picture: supplied

In 2022, Natural Temptation owner Annie Malone will retire, leaving behind her legacy of starting one of Bunbury's few vegetarian cafes.

Ms Malone said when she and Ms Bogdanoff moved into the Centrepoint, the plan was to only be there for two years.

"We thought we'd just set it up, call it something else and then sell it.

"But we did so well and we were so much busier than what we thought we'd be.

"After 12 months, Katrina decided to go back to Good Earth, and I took over Natural Temptation."

The Natural Temptation Cafe, which is currently located on Stephen Street, is now open for prospective buyers. Picture: Pip Waller

The Natural Temptation Cafe, which is currently located on Stephen Street, is now open for prospective buyers. Picture: Pip Waller

Ms Malone credits her knowledge of vegetarian cuisine to Ms Bogdanoff's influence, as well as travelling in India in the 1970s.

Having grown up on a dairy farm in Capel, she said she found it "fascinating" that cultures had "survived and thrived" on a diet without meat.

"It really developed my interest in vegetarian food," Ms Malone said.

"And that's what we predominately serve at Natural Temptation today - as well as nitrate-free bacon, free range chicken and tuna.

"We also still sell veggie patties and lasagna, which are Katrina's original recipe."

After 22 years in the Centrepoint, The Natural Temptation Cafe moved to Stephen Street in 2011, where it is still located today.

In addition to relocating, highlights over the last 30 years for Ms Malone include publishing two cookbooks in 1997 and 2007 with friend and ex-colleague Donna Mazza, adapting to different 'food fads' (raw food movement, veganism), becoming more educated on sustainability (phasing out of plastic bags) and of course, meeting and talking with customers.

"It's been a really nice journey with our customers," Ms Malone said.

"We've had people who came to us in the Centrepoint as kids who loved our veggie patties - who have then visited us with their kids. And you hear them say 'this is what mummy used to eat when she was little' - which is really nice because it's like we've been an influence on their life."

Although excited for retirement, Ms Malone confessed that she would "really miss" the customer interaction she had experienced.

"At some stage you have to decide what your 'out plan' is going to be - and I never wanted to think about it because I wanted to do this forever. But I just want to say thank you to all my customers over the last 30 years - because without you, we wouldn't be here or had the beautiful journey that we have. It's now time for someone else to come in and make Natural Temptation even better, so that the store can keep evolving.

"And that's what I hope will happen."

Ms Malone's plans for retirement include growing her own, edible flowers and helping her brother at his fully sustainable accommodation in Peppermint Grove Beach.