What was your motivation for launching Wandering Cooks?
The desire to see and nourish ever-increasing food business diversity and sustainability in Australia.
What new initiatives does the incubator have planned for the rest of the year?
A lending library, in collaboration with Scrumptious Reads, more pop-up restaurants on site – and the rest is a surprise!
Your PhD asked the question why it’s so easy for urban dwellers to avoid responsibility towards the places where our food is produced. What’s the most interesting finding you uncovered in your research?
That avoidance is unavoidable, but can be overcome in parts, day by day, moment by moment, by remaining receptive to the stories behind our food. That guilt and enjoyment are intertwined and inseparable, and so they should remain.
Where do you see Brisbane’s local food scene heading in the future?
I think if we can celebrate its independent producers, embrace its regional products and support collaborations through businesses like Wandering Cooks and Flugente, our talented cooks will still leave to gain inspiration and skills, but they’ll have something to come back to, and we’ll have an amazing food scene!
You’ve also spent a bit of time living and working on an organic farm and cooking school in Ireland. What did you learn from the experience?
How making bread can become part of every morning’s routine, how to make jam by taste and that chickens whistle while they sleep.
How do you juggle being a mum and a business owner?
I don’t know … with a lot of guilt to be honest! I don’t think I’d be very good at being a full-time mum. Being a business owner feels like part of who I am now. I don’t think I’d be very fun to be around without my creativity being directed into something like my business, so perhaps that’s some consolation. It helps that my little boy Oliver loves being at Wandering Cooks. It’s one of the reasons we have so many toys around for other kids to play with. Doing ‘work’ has become part of Oliver’s play – he’s very focused on his projects! And also, he gets a lot of cuddles!
When you’re tired and feeling under pressure, what motivates you to get out of bed and keep achieving great things at Wandering Cooks?
Happy customers, a bit of time spent tending our gardens, a good cup of tea and a bit of time to clear my desk and therefore free my mind up of all the clutter that tends to overwhelm.
What’s your idea of complete happiness?
A cup of tea, a vegetable garden and cooking with people I love.
What’s the last thing that made you smile?
Oliver’s latest obsession with a turtle paperweight that he insists on keeping in his pocket, despite it pulling his pants off!
What are your essentials for a well-spent weekend?
Time with my little boy and my partner, time in my garden and a clean house!
What are you reading at the moment?
Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?
What do you hope your legacy will be?
A happy family, a business that inspires people to make better businesses, and many gardens.
How do you define ‘success’?
When my everyday life catches up with my vision of my everyday life!
What are your words of wisdom?
Have a vision to work towards, persist despite the difficulties, learn and adapt constantly, and be kind on yourself when you make mistakes …
FAVOURITE WEEKEND SPOT TO:
Perk up … on the mud flats at Wellington Point.
Relax … in our backyard on a blanket.
Dine … I work as a food reviewer, so wherever I get paid to go!
Indulge … Chouquette in New Farm, Crust & Co. Artisan Baking in Newmarket, Flour & Chocolate in Morningside or anywhere else that has great pastries.
Shop … Dogstar in Brisbane City.
Catch-up … on a camping trip in the bush somewhere, with friends and kids galore.
Be inspired … at Avid Reader in West End, Folio Books in Brisbane City or Scrumptious Reads in Fortitude Valley, in the cookbook section!