Brisbane: how lucky we are.
I know a lot of the time we go on and on about how much greater the food is in the Southern States (and yes, Melbourne and Sydney are pretty fabulous), but we live in a pretty awesome place, with a a great lifestyle, and great people.
Recently, I took 7 weeks holiday from my work to focus on my passion - food. I've been granted some fantastic opportunities.
I've completed conventional culinary training - and learned so much in the process. I've met, spoken to, and talked shop with a number of chefs, bloggers, business owners, producers of food, and tasters, and I've attended wonderful events. And it's just the beginning.
I held my first cooking demonstration at an Amateur Chef school - teaching Dreena Burton's famous chocolate chip cookies to a class of aspiring chefs - which they loved. I have started supplying an amazing local cafe with my handmade cheesecakes and cookies.
How awesome is that.
Going back to my desk job after 7 weeks was hard. I love a lot of the work, but this time I'd spent in kitchens, creating, tasting and share fantastic food made me realise that food has to be a part of my every day. In a big way. So my workplace has kindly agreed to let me reduce my hours to part-time, from next week.
In the meantime, I have an announcement to make: we have started a business.
For a few weeks now, I've been supplying baked goods to a local cafe - testing the waters. The response has been fantastic. I've been blown away. People really love our food. It's an incredible feeling - knowing that people are appreciating and loving what you're creating. I love to think that I'm making their day a little brighter, with our goods. And when they're eating them, they're brightening mine, too.
Our business is called Delicious, Regardless. We're focussing on food that is delicious, regardless of any dietary requirements; food that doesn't apologise, that doesn't taste any less fantastic because of what it doesn't have in it. Everything we sell is vegan, and I've got a number of gluten and wheat-free tricks up my sleeve, including decadent cheesecakes. Everything is hand-made, with quality ingredients.
The sky is the limit. I look forward to learning as much as I can from the talented local chefs and food writers, in addition to building our business. I also really hope to work with some of our fantastic local restaurants, to expand the quality and brevity of their offerings designed for people who are vegan, gluten-free, or have some other dietary choice/requirement.
Thank you so much for being here and helping us to build up our confidence on the way to doing this. I really, truly appreciate all of the support we've received.
I haven't used Facebook in years - so please bear with us, and head to our Facebook page to "like us".
Our official website is www.deliciousregardless.com.au
I've got a few thank yous, that I'd like to list:
- First and foremost - all of the amazing, underrated, incredible vegan cooks and chefs who have come before me. In particular - Bryanna Clark Grogan, Dynise Balcavage, Julie Hasson, Fran Costigan, and Dreena Burton. I'm not gonna rest until you ladies are on the bestseller list. Dreena, singling you out (as always!!) - your friendship, patience, balance and support has meant, and continues to mean, so much to me. Thanks for "healthying me up".
- Cale Drouin and all the staff from The Green Edge (Cale - thank you for believing in me, giving me all of these wonderful opportunities - and buying a risky business that ultimately, through your amazingly kind and good nature, you've turned into a really wonderful place. You should be so proud. I'll always be loyal to you! And to the staff: thank you for spruiking and "upsizing" your customers with me, and for eating like I'm never gonna bake again!)
- Jerome Dalton, from Dalton Hospitality (Words cannot express how awesome you are. You know it. You've made this possible. And I have a lemon cheesecake in the fridge for you. I think I'm gonna have to bake you another one. You work too hard, but your kind heart and passion for food is so, so inspiring).
- Natascha Mirosch (for taking a chance on the wacky, mouthy, vegan guy who eats like a starving bogan at a fairground)
- Kym Machin (for making me see that vegetables truly are the challenge of a fine chef, and for always rising to the occasion)
- Alison Taafe (for taking me on as a scholarship student who had never so much as boiled an egg, training me, offering me opportunities, being so crazily passionate, and most of all - for believing me)
- Chef Stix (thank you for being interested in the full scope of being a chef, and for being so kind and agreeing to train me when I came in shaking, and with one foot out the door. I hope I still can train with you!)
- Barbara and Bryan Harris (Barbara - you were, and are, a lovely lady. I hope you're resting in peace. I promise to take more care of Bryan. You picked well)
- Danielle Dixon (for being truly interested, supportive, setting the example and encouraging me to follow my dreams)
- Jane Green (for being the complete opposite of a food snob)
- To all of my other buddies on Twitter - thank you for all of your support, and for sharing your knowledge. I love our interactions, and you've all been so wonderful.