From University to
Running her Happiness Center

February 27, 2018

Emily Hazell is a Swinburne grad and the sole founder of Serotonin Eatery – a cafe nearly every brunch-loving Melbournian would have heard of, or lined up for on a Sunday morning.

Thanks to Emily’s double degree in interior architecture and communication design, she was able to bring her dream of creating a ‘happiness café’ to life without having to enlist the help of interior and graphic designers.

“I did all my own fit-out here, my own branding, my first website, the menus –basically any marketing material I make myself. I knew that studying design would be the perfect way to allow me to do anything. I’ll be able to use these skills in any business, and even in my own personal life, for the rest of my life.”

Why Serotonin is unique

Talking to Emily, it’s clear that the elements which make the Serotonin experience so delightful have not come together by chance.

“I worked with a colour psychologist to design the colour scheme. The outside is dark to reflect the crazy outside world and the inside is very calming and soothing, using mood-stabilising colours in a pearlescent paint.”

While designing the venue, she was also conscious of strengthening the brand by making the logo visible and consistent throughout the space.

“The logo for Serotonin Eatery is the molecular structure for the chemical serotonin. I’ve tried to place that hexagonal form throughout the cafe as much as possible to bring the whole concept together – from the tiles on the walls, to the pot plants, stools, and even on the plates and bowls.”

As you walk through the venue doors, you are greeted by a sensory experience far more intense than the buzz of a typical café.

The colours have an instantly calming effect and the beat of minimal house music harmonises with the hum of happy customers.

The gentle rocking motion of the swings is strangely therapeutic and delicious smells fill you with hopes of tasting every dish on the menu.

The foundation of the whole concept is undoubtedly the plant-based menu, which has been designed to include mood-boosting ingredients that are high in tryptophan and could increase your serotonin levels.


Why Emily loved design at Swinburne

Emily believes that the fundamental principles of design are universal and can be applied to so many aspects of life.

“If you want to go to uni but you don’t know what to study, design is the ideal course because it can lead to so many interesting paths and you really do use it everywhere.”

She even convinced a friend to transfer to Swinburne after enthusiastically sharing how much she loved it!

Emily’s passion for spreading the message of healthy living combined with her entrepreneurial outlook on life allows her to dream big when it comes to the future of her brand.

“I love trend forecasting and looking in Melbourne at what’s coming up and I think that’s how I was able to develop Serotonin. My long-term goal is to turn every closing down McDonald’s into a Serotonin.”

How to be a
Goal Digger!

February 27, 2018

Emily Hazell is the founder and visionary behind Serotonin Eatery, Exercise + Education. She is also an interior architect and graphic designer and purposefully designed Serotonin to be a sanctuary and escape from our fast-paced lives. 

Optimal health requires a holistic approach and Serotonin integrates both a nourishing eatery with an exercise centre. 

The ethos is based around eating a plant-based diet to ensure the body, mind and earth all function at their best. We spoke with Emily who shared her plans for Serotonin to become a leading facility in happiness and health education. 

How did you get involved in Melbourne's thriving hospitality industry?

I had never worked a day in hospitality before I opened up Serotonin, however, was driven by the fact that 60% of deaths In Australia are diet related - so my goal is to change minds and lives to prevent these unnecessary deaths. Through Serotonin I am going to change the food industry and humanise hospitality again. 



Every quarter I set; 3-months, 6-month, 12-month and 5-year goals. Regardless of whether you refer back to them or not, this is the first step in manifesting the life you want. I had achieved every goal I had ever dreamed of 9 months into opening Serotonin and didn't know what was to come.

I need quiet time to set my goals, if life is too crazy, I can't think about what I want next. So every few months I go away, either in my van or rent a cute Airbnb house by myself and ditch technology in aid of setting my next set of goals. This is truly how I believe I am living the life of my dreams!


I have a poster I made on my wall with me and my dream team and the question next to it saying what would they do. I have Lisa Messenger, Ellen Degeneres, Richard Branson, Jamie Oliver and The Dalai Lama that I look to when I'm struggling with something in my business.

When I opened Serotonin, I had a good friend Tom who owns Pond in Torquay, who came to help for the 48 hours before. I can safely say I would not have the business I do without him. Although he has a different view on, almost everything, it was the perfect ying to my yang and as a team, we covered everything back and front of service!


FOLLOW YOUR GUT. Anyone successful in business will tell you this, especially because great businesses that are leading a new path. People will say it can't be done, don't bother with them, instead, use this as fuel to prove them wrong.



I give myself three things to do in a day. When I do this, I get them all done by 10amand the move onto extras. I have to do lists everywhere, on my phone, on Asana, in my notes even on my hand! So I use my Mi Goals diary to note the three most important things I have to do. Then go back to my other mad lists.

Do you have a favourite quote?

"Life isn't about finding yourself; life is about creating yourself." All of my friends went to places like South America to "find themselves", I simply decided who I wanted to be and then became that! Another quote I love is, "I decided to be happy, because it's good for my health". 


To change minds and lives in order to prevent unnecessary deaths.

To read more head to:

26 Things about
Emily Hazell

February 27, 2018

As soon as you walk into Serotonin Eatery on Madden Grove in Burnley, you know you’re in for a treat! From the gorgeous Japanese style booths to the swing sets (if you are feeling a little more fun), this is the perfect sanctuary to escape your fast paced life – a place to sit, breathe, eat delicious plant-based meals and enjoy the soothing surroundings.

We met with founder – a smiley Emily in the first weeks of opening the café, which also has a gym attached to it. The idea behind her café was to create a holistic approach to happiness by combining healthy eating, exercise and education to give the body, mind and our planet the care it needs to function at its best. We loved everything about her idea and chatted to Emily to find out more!


1. What’s the best advice you have ever received?

“Fail fast.” Which means dive in head first! An entrepreneur jumps off a cliff and builds their plane on the way down” Go for it, you’ve never got anything to lose!

2. 6 things that make you smile?

  1. Rainbows
  2. That when Melbourne has a rainbow all my friends send me photos incase I missed it
  3. Bubbles
  4. Sun flowers
  5. Lightning
  6. Fireworks

3. I love to cook…

nothing. i love to eat fruit- it’s the ultimate fast food!

4. A proud moment in my life was when…

my friends came into Serotonin on the first day and saw my vision that i had been working on for 5 years come to life!

5. Favorite thing to do on a Sunday?

Get up at 8am, fresh as a daisy, exercise, probably yoga

6. Best meal you’ve ever had…

Oh wow. My relationship with food is incredible, that’s like asking to name your favourite child.

Serotonin’s menu is a smogas board of all my favourite meals i’ve ever had, but now sugar, salt and guilt free!

7. Favorite subject in school?

Earth and Environmental studies

8. I can’t stop listening to…

Jamie XX

9. Saturday night out or Saturday night in?


10. Success means…

Being happy.

11. 2 things that make me cry…

Onions & Happiness

12. What is normal?

Up’s and downs

13. Vegemite makes me want to?

Eat avocado

14. I can’t live without…


15. Seinfeld or Friends?

Life without a tv is a life of productivity

16. Where do you go to relax?

Merrijig, Victoria

17. If you were a vegetable you would be a…


18. Who do you want to be when you grow up?

A wiser, compassionate Emily

19. I’ll have a one-way ticket to…

The moon

20. What did you eat last night?


21. Last movie you watched…

Entourage Movie

22.  Favorite market place is…

Umundie Market

23.  Don’t mess with me when…

I’m eating…..

24. 6 things I love about Melbourne

Oh wow where do I start!!!

If you look at **buzz feeds “why Melbourne is the most photographable city in the world” you will see that 3 of the photographs are mine, including the #1

1. I love that the bush and beach are a lovely and quick drive away!

2. I love that we have most multicultural food in the world!

3. I love that Melbourne is so flat and straight so it’s easy to get around on a bike

4. I love that we see every season in it’s entirety and get to dress for weather from  4’ – 40’

5. I love the suburbs with plain tree lined streets

6. I love the endless entrepreneurial ideas

25. I just learnt…

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time at all.

26. One word to describe you?

SMILEY (it’s actually like EMILYS spelt differently)


Read more at:

About Us

At Serotonin in Melbourne, we provide a sanctuary to escape from our fast-paced lives. As optimal health requires a holistic approach, Serotonin integrates both a nourishing Eatery, an Exercise Centre and has an Education platform. Our ethos is based around eating a plant-based diet to ensure the body, mind and earth all function at their best.