Raised between Melbourne and the Abruzzo, Maurice Terzini has a boisterous Australian attitude with a refined Italian sensibility. As a young twenty-something he opened a trattoria in the yet-to-be-hip Melbourne neighborhood of South Yarra, proffering real-deal cuisine from the boot-shaped country instead of the factory fare fakery found on touristy Lygon Street. He credits luck — “the right place at the right time” for his early entrepreneurial success, and there have been some higher highs (and some very low lows) leading up to his greatest accomplishment in the food biz: launching a massively successful restaurant concept at Icebergs — Sydney’s second-most iconic building after its opera house.
A glass fortress set directly on Bondi Beach — so close to the waves that they crash right into the open-air swimming pool in moodier weather — Icebergs has helped turn the once undesirable ’burb (the city used to pipe its sewage out to sea in the area) into one of the hottest addresses in all of Sydney. Bondi is synonymous with Australia’s pronounced surf culture — its de facto capital — with toned young men in half-zipped neoprene and kaftan-wearing beach babes idling at the local coffee shops.
“The beach is the great equalizer in Australia. Every type of person gathers, stripped down of their artifice, on the sand,” says Terzini of Bondi — his veritable fiefdom — which attracts not only wave riders, but Sydneysiders of every alternative stripe.
Beyond Icebergs and his numerous other restaurants around town, Terzini has also made a name for himself in the fashion world. “These are our basic needs: food and shelter,” he says when asked about the relationship between his passion for designing menus and designing streetwear. “I want to create a beautiful life for everyone —I like to think of it as all being a part of a greater lifestyle brand,” he adds. What’s next? Terzini plans to make landfall in the U.S. with a restaurant-bar in Los Angeles and then: “A hotel. I want to pull all of these things together.”
*This story is part of our '99 Things We Love About Australia' feature in the August issue of Out.