Visa Holder Hustles – Dani Valent

Everyone is doing it tough in hospo but temporary visa holders have a particularly hard road because they have no access to JobKeeper or JobSeeker, and many of them are restricted in the kind of work they can do. Basically, it sucks.

However, some of them have started micro-businesses to get them through to COVID-normal. If you can, support them!

Most of them are selling via Instagram – let me know if you don’t have Instagram and want to be put in touch.

Are you a visa holder with a side hustle? Leave a comment below or message me on Instagram so I can add you!


  • FILIPINO BAKING:Bread in the Philippines is a BIG DEAL and Alyanna from Alsa Bakers is sharing traditional breads like this one. “Meet Butter’s best friend. ENSAYMADA 👑 It’s soft literally like cotton balls and when you tear it up , you get a cultured butter like explosion! with a Hamonado glaze + shaving of some smoked aged cheddar. This is what everyone carries around in the Philippines around the Christmas time. ” Message her on Instagram or email [email protected].

  • INDIAN: Chef Raghav is making kathi, hand-rolled paratha layered with mint coriander chutney, pickled onions and your choice of protein. He’s delivering within 5KM of Glen Huntly. Message him on Instagram.
  • THAI FOOD: Ladyboy Dining employs many visa holders and the owners of the restaurant are allowing them to use the kitchen to create their own meals. They’re available here for delivery throughout Melbourne.
  • COMFORT FOOD: Milan & Nicole are from Austria. He makes delicious comfort food (best goulash) and she makes beautiful cards. They put out menus on Wednesdays and deliver on Sundays. Message them directly.
  • INDONESIAN FOOD: Axel lost his chef job at a St Kilda restaurant and is now selling delicious traditional Indonesian dishes under the name Koen Melbourne. Send him a DM.

  • INDONESIAN FOOD: Nicole was working at Marnong Estate (and previously Grossi Florentino). Now she’s cooking authentic Indonesian food under the name Mangan Yuk. Message her directly.

  • BALINESE FOOD: Ida is selling such lovely Balinese food under the name Jaen Jumah. He told me: “My brand name is Jaen Jumah which means ‘it is good to stay at home’ in Balinese language. I want to encourage people even at this time, when people usually able to go to Bali to escape winter, I can bring Bali to them from my take of authentic Balinese dishes. Spread the positivity instead of negativity.” Message him directly.
  • MORE BALINESE: My Balinese mate Dwi told me he reckons Ajengan is the best Balinese in Melbourne. Connect with them here.
  • PASTA: Andrea Vignali has been stood down from his job at Grossi Florentino but he’s built Al Dente, a great pasta business. Orders open every Monday and he’s so popular that you have to get in quick! Andrea has been able to employ other visa holders to help with his pasta delivery. Sign up to get his menus emailed to you weekly.


  • CAKE: Aidan Robinson is the face behind CHIC de PARTIE. He says: “Originally from Manchester, England, I moved to Melbourne in 2017, and was sponsored by Dinner by Heston as a pastry chef. Unfortunately the restaurant went into liquidation, and closed early this year. This left me without a job and lots of visa stress. Then of course, Covid-19 hit straight after, making it impossible to find a stable job within hospitality. So I took all the adversity that 2020 threw at me and I baked cake. I have put all my learnings from 11 years in the fine dining scene, my love for fashion and quality ingredients into creating CHIC de PARTIE. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of your support, thank you! Visit him on Instagram!

  • JAM: Cake in a jar? That’s Ines’ jam! Ines is an Argentinean pastry chef doing chutneys and cake-inspired jams and marmalades. I’ve tried them and they are great! This carrot cake jam has pineapple, carrots, pears and raisins with all the spices that make that staple carrot cake flavour. 🥕🍍🍐🥕 Find her on Instagram.
  • CHOCOLATE: Victoria Willits is a pastry chef who was working at Om Nom. She’s making artisan chocolate bars and selling them via Instagram. Message her directly.
  • CAKE: Oli & Ilse are temporary visa holders helping other visa holders by making cakes saying “F**K COVID” and distributing the profits. Legends! Contact them at Temporary Cake Company. Delivering within 5K of Brunswick/Fitzroy.
  • SWEET LITTLE CAKES: Cute cakes made by twins from Colombia? What more could you want? Message Sweet Little Twins.
  • CHOUX: Alexandra is a pastry chef from Cyprus and she’s making filled choux pastries that you can pick up from Abbotsford. September’s flavours are dulche de leche, passionfruit meringue, vanilla and hazelnut-chocolate! Message her on Instagram.

  • MORE CAKE: Kitty was a pastry chef at Vue de monde and now she’ll make (AMAZING!) cakes for you. Message her on Instagram.


  • KNIFE SHARPENING: Francesca is a chef who’s been studying at William Angliss. She’s started a knife-sharpening business – what a great idea! She’s in Brunswick East – send her a message if you’re nearby.
  • MASKS BY A TIPO CHEF: Josefina is only getting a shift or two at Tipo 00 so she’s hand-making masks in the meantime. Check out Miss Threads!
  • ART! Soumya is a chef who also creates art, much of it food related. As she says, “I’m a chef, or as we say in the kitchens, I’m a cook, based in the beautiful city of Melbourne for now. I find inspiration everywhere I go, it might be while I’m doing my mis en place for the day or the changes in season sometimes it might be a rolled-up paint tube on my desk. My work is to challenge your appreciation of everyday life so maybe, just maybe you can see the beauty lurking in the ordinary.” Message her on Instagram. Check out her art store where she even sells masks!

  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Johnny is from the UK and he was working as a venue manager at a South Wharf cocktail bar. He’s been unemployed since March and is now turning his love for photography into a prints business. Check out his site.

  • DOG & PEOPLE PORTRAITS! Racquel has been stood down from her hospo job and is now doing bespoke digital portraits to get by. She tells me, “It’s been a complete roller coaster haha. I’ve always loved drawing and figured now was the time to work with that and try and earn a living until we have some sort of security again❤️.” Check out her great pics – I think I need to get one of Pepi! And see her Etsy store.

  • CANDLES: Adam & Laura are Elements Home & Body. Their scents include Oriental Sandalwood, Citrus & Bergamot, and Coffee & Cacao. We have them at home and they’re great! Check out their Instagram and buy straight from their website. They have body products now too!


  1. Danielle September 9, 2020 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    You are absolutely amazing, Dani. Thank you so much for being so awesome, supportive and kind. 😍

    • Dani Valent September 9, 2020 at 6:07 pm - Reply

      We’re all in it together & together we can do it XXX

  2. martine September 11, 2020 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    hey Dani – i love this and am looking for gifts to send to my work collegues (cos we are fortunate to be able to). Did you have a candlemaker on this as well? Can’t find the link….
    Onya!! As my Mum says – that Dani Valent – hasnt she got a head full of common sense… We all agreee xx

    • Dani Valent September 12, 2020 at 6:22 am - Reply

      Hello to you & your mum, Martine! The candle people are now on the page – look down the bottom! :)))

  3. Kate September 12, 2020 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Thank you for this! We’ll spread thecword

  4. Sally September 14, 2020 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Living in Ferntree Gully and being older are keeping at home we are ordering food locally, but if you know a one in the Ferntree Gully/Boronia area who do these things, could they be added to the list please?

    • Dani Valent September 19, 2020 at 11:39 am - Reply

      You could try Thai Grocer on this page :) They deliver all over Melbourne I think!

  5. Diane September 24, 2020 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    The candles from Elements are an absolute winner, especially the coffee and cocoa one.

  6. Yeemin November 11, 2020 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    Congratulations on 100 episodes of Dirty Linen, Dani! It is a wonderful podcast providing valuable insights into the hospo industry as well as primary food producers. I love your sense of social justice, providing support to our visa holders (on your website too!) as well as everyone in the industry who is able to share these challenges and know they are not alone.
    I do not work in the industry but as a keen and regular diner, feel so much a part of it after listening to DIrty Linen. I now dine out with a much deeper appreciation of the challenges the restaurants have faced and therefore, a much deeper appreciation of the service and food placed in front of me.

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