The Ida Valley Kitchen
Why and how did you become a chef? I'm not formally
trained, I just love to cook. I'd discovered how enjoyable it
could be as a teenager going flatting. I had taught
kindergarten for 20 years before opening The Ida Valley
Kitchen because I just love cooking and presenting beautiful
Biggest professional challenge? Juggling all the
balls. Cafe life can be unpredictable.
Favourite ingredient? Lemons - in dressings, pasta,
cakes and desserts, they lift the flavour.
Best cooking tip? Don't settle for bland flavour, go
What type of food do you like to eat? I love to eat
tasty ethnic food with spices, coriander and great holiday
Who cooks at home? Whoever is the least tired cooks at
home. We usually eat leftovers.
Favourite meal? Anything someone else cooks for me. I
just love that someone else takes time and effort to do it.
Cooking for someone, I think, shows that you care about them.
Favourite kitchen gadget? My Microplane lemon zester
... worth every cent.
How have people's tastes changed/latest food trends?
Travel broadens the tastebuds as well as the mind (and the
waistband) and our palates evolve accordingly.
Battle of TV cooks Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver?
Jamie Oliver all the way. The other is just an angry, angry
Date and Lemon
6 Tbsp chopped dates
Zest and juice of two lemons
2 Tbsp lightly toasted cumin seeds
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup olive oil
Combine and leave to infuse overnight.