It’s Chef Dom Rizzo & I’m Back! – May 2022 Newsletter

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 threw 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.

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.

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.

What am I doing NOW?

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 also 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 and Woolworths.

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.

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.

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.

So after 2 years of 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.

My bespoke small group Food Tours are back in action for 2022 with one tour to Sicily this September . And for this tour only Single and Solo Travellers pay no single supplement.

Best part about my food tours is all you need to do is pay for your flights! The land price for the tour includes everything else. Its that easy. 

Register your interest by clicking on the region for my next tours to SicilyPuglia with Spain, Morocco, Corsica and Sardinia to follow.

Take advantage of some of this seasons winter vegetables!

I love using all my fresh garden grown greens in salads and coleslaws, although with the colder days and nights coming upon us a salad just doesn’t give you the warm comfort we want from food. Try my Asian marinated Pork Steaks with A Stir-fry Slaw, its an easy recipe using what’s available right now – cabbage, Bok choy, carrots and onion – of course you can use what ever vegetables you have on hand. Check out my delicious recipe for Marinated Pork Steaks with  Stir-fry Slaw.

Products I love

As a chef I love discovering new Australian products, one of my pantry essentials is from the company “Sticky Balsamic”. I love drizzling it  on vegetables, eggs, avocado, in soups, casseroles or slow cooked dishes, in my Bolognese, roast meats, tofu – just about everything, “Sticky Balsamic” is vegan, gluten and dairy free, so its great for everyone.   The Premium range currently consists of Quince, FigReserveRaspberryPomegranate and Truffle, all made with their own hand-crafted balsamic vinegar. Click here to check out their online store.

URBAN FEASTING in North Brisbane and my new cooking space – Its still happening!

Like the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” my new cooking space ” Urban Feast” is still in the making and I will keep you all posted as soon as I am ready to facilitate classes.
I’m so excited to bring a splash of the Mediterranean to Brisbane’s Northside. Featuring 2 private cooking spaces including an alfresco kitchen with a wood-fired pizza oven, smoker, charcoal grill, and an edible kitchen garden, this is definitely a space to watch out for.

What’s Growing in My Garden

I started my winter garden quite a few weeks ago but if you are looking to start a small sustainable garden, best and quickest greens I have found that grow without too much skill  are Tatsoi, Bok Choy (Pak Choi), Choy Sum,  Kale & Tuscan Kale. A reminder to perhaps think about netting them as the grasshoppers, snails and various other garden critters also love their greens.