How long does it take to re-build oneself and one’s business after the sale of what was my life?
In my case, about 2 years!
After selling “Putia Pure Food Kitchen” and our beloved local “ Clapham Junction Wine Bar” in 2019 it took a good 6 months for me to get back to myself. I took a much-needed break on “Norfolk Island” one of my favourite places to visit with an easy hour-long flight, and a feeling on arrival, that I have stepped onto a tropical paradise. From a relaxing paradise, I felt like I was slingshot back to Australia in a panic only just making it back in time just as the borders were closing and our lockdowns were actioned back in 2020.
I thought I would be great in lockdown. I have always worked huge hours in restaurants for most of my life, so any time to spend at home was always greatly appreciated. At that time my partner wasn’t working so we both buckled in at home with the dogs, the cat and the chooks and settled into lockdown. We got heavily into gardening, I did a lot of cooking and dabbled in a few YouTube videos, zoom calls, cooking online and doing a lot of thinking.
It was the thinking that thew me off my axis. I had a rather large tax debt from the restaurant – as most do, a loan I had taken out for the restaurant – as most do and during lock down suddenly without any work, no way of paying off my debt life got a quite stressful.
I also started thinking about my life – what am I doing, where is it going and where am I going to take myself in this next chapter of my working career now that I had no association with bricks and mortar in the way of a venue.
Suddenly lockdown went from being fun, to an obsession with what am I going to do with my life? I know many of you can relate to this. The past few years, I feel, have been a momentous time for reflection and change. Oh and I felt that I needed to share more about myself on a more regular basis so I can really connect with my supporters and let you all know how grateful I am for you following me over the years, supporting me in everything I have done and hoping you are all here for the next exciting part of my journey.
As 2020 was a bit of a write off, I will tick over to 2021 where things started to pick up and I started to get behind myself and draw some new lines in the sand. Firstly, I must add that I am an enormous advocate of diversifying!
I have always incorporated it into my restaurants/venues and have always been flexible and been able to diversify in my working life. I once thought it to be a negative, that I had so many balls juggling in the air, but now I embrace it and love the variety. I give myself praise for the ability to be able to do this as it kept me afloat until things got back to normal. And now I realise that its my preferred way to work and it serves me well.
One of the questions I get asked so many times is – What are you doing now?
As life went back to a new sort of normal, work started to pick up and I landed a fabulous contract with Teys Australia working with their NPD team developing new concepts for their Centre of Plate lines going into Woolworths. I started doing some filming and product styling work for Teys and MLA which has me now working as assistant stylist and chef with brands such as Dominos, Subway, McDonalds, Aldi.
I loved our local Northgate “Flour & Chocolate Patisserie” shop so much, when times were tough, I went in and asked for a job. I was working in the kitchen and front of house up until a few weeks ago. Even though things have picked up for me I never wanted to leave, now you will find me on Friday and Saturday nights scooping gelati at “Knead” Gelati, Flour and Chocolates latest venture. People ask me why? I love working for incredible owners with an amazing work and business ethos, I love hospitality and of course I love everything Flour and Chocolate does from the quality of their ingredients, their products, their customer service and now of course their gelati! And I get to chat and serve wonderful customers who love Flour and Chocolate and Knead Gelati too.
You may also find me handing out beverages and canapes with the incredible team from “Dalton Catering”. Again, people I’m serving always ask me why or what are you doing serving me?
For me again its being able to be part of something amazing. Not only the company but to be part of someone’s good time, their celebration, and to make it the best experience for them. As well working on your feet like this is incredible fitness – see how many steps you do in an 8-9 hour shift of catering! And the places I’ve worked in, the kitchens and houses I’ve seen and the menus I’ve served have been incredible.
My other work involves cooking demonstrations for a variety of different occasions, food festivals and events in places all over Australia. I write and develop recipe for different products coming up with ideas which use products in ways you may not have thought of.
My bespoke small group Food Tours are back in action for 2022 with one tour to Sicily this September and I’m working on 2023 to be the real kick off with new tours to Sicily and Puglia with Spain, Morocco, Corsica and Sardinia to follow.
I’m still doing work with LitenEasy cooking up a storm on Everyday Gourmet with the incredible foodie Justine Schofield.
AND….my exciting project which is definitely like building Rome is my new cooking school space “ Urban Feast” a private bespoke cooking space perfect for sharing my knowledge and love of teaching. I don’t have a date yet for opening but I will guarantee, you will definitely be the first to hear about it.
So after 2 years or uncertainty, a website overhaul, a hacked Instagram account, a do over, a reinvention of myself and turning 50, I’m back with a bang and I can’t wait to be sharing more with you.