It Takes Many Hands to Pull Off a Food Weekend

A huge shout-out to my incredible team and friends who helped make this weekend's event a success. Coordinating a three-course alternative drop for 219 guests on Saturday night in Dimboola, followed by a cooking demonstration for the Heritage Harvest Weekend at Sovereign Hill Ballarat on Sunday, required meticulous planning and weeks of preparation.

From finalising the menu and ordering food to coordinating with suppliers, organising deliveries, staff, and timing, the effort was immense.

The preparation began after hours from my teaching job, with others assisting in tasks like making ganache for the delice cake, preparing quandong and muntrie jam, slicing potatoes for the pavé, zesting lemons, preparing labneh, and slicing vegetables. The extensive menu for Saturday night included:


  • Roasted vegetable tartlet with wattleseed and finger lime yoghurt, finished with bush dukkha seasoned sweet potato chips.

Main Courses:

  • Warrigal green cannelloni with bush oregano tomato passata, and quandong and rocket salad.
  • Roasted chicken breast stuffed with Geraldton wax and ricotta, potato pavé, and bush greens.
  • Mountain pepper beef cheek with honey wattleseed carrots and celeriac potato mash.


  • Lemon myrtle and honey posset with wattleseed ANZAC crumb.
  • Chocolate delice cake with quandong jam and strawberry gum Chantilly cream.

Starting at 5 AM each day, I took advantage of the quiet mornings to tackle the prep list. It was fantastic to be back in the DMSC trade kitchen, which I designed 12 years ago and still functions perfectly. Our team, consisting of 11 front-of-house staff and 8 back-of-house staff, worked seamlessly. Entrées were served at 6:45 PM, followed by mains at 7:30 PM. After desserts were served, the most tedious part of catering began—packing down and cleaning up, only to unpack again at home. I arrived home just after 11 PM and was asleep by 11:45 PM, only to rise again at 6 AM.

Sunday began with making wattleseed damper and lemon myrtle butter for a cooking demonstration at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat. My soul sister Kylie stayed the weekend to lend support, and my best mate Uncle Brent arrived at 7:30 AM for the road trip. The weather was perfect, unlike last year's rainy Heritage Harvest Festival.

We arrived at Sovereign Hill around 11 AM, allowing time to set up for the class showcasing bush food flavours and ingredients. I had little helpers on stage to assist with preparing karkalla, saltbush, and bower spinach for the stir-fry. I discussed how I incorporate these ingredients into catering and classroom menus. Attendees tasted the bush food stir-fry, wattleseed damper with lemon myrtle butter, and lemon myrtle posset with wattleseed crumb. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with many surprised by the unique flavours.

After packing up, my crew enjoyed gold panning and explored the markets for local goodies. We arrived home by 7 PM and I was relaxing on the couch by 8 PM. It was a fabulous weekend, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of everyone involved. Thank you to all who contributed!

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