Sponsored by Morning Fresh (S2 post)
We sat on a thatched double-seater chair in a tiny backyard terrace surrounded with pots of wrangling herbs and vegetables. It was a lovely Sydney afternoon and the sun’s rays were kind and light. I couldn’t help but notice the oh-so-lightly freckled completion of the person opposite me.
Before this moment, I was treated to a three course lunch by George Calombaris, hosted by Morning Fresh, which turned out to be a highlight in my birthday week. I initially declined the invitation to this event, as it’s always hard to organise interstate travel on my end but when I casually mentioned it to my kids, who are huge Masterchef fans, they freaked out that I wasn’t going “to meet George!”. So I went. And I’m glad I did because it was a fabulous experience. I promised the children I would try and come home with a picture of George and I, thus: my mission. And BAM! Snapped in the backyard terrace. I was the coolest mum on the block that afternoon!
I sat across from George Calombaris with a few scrawled questions I planned earlier. There were no questions about Masterchef or how he lost weight. I didn’t really care about that. What I wanted to hear more about was George’s passion for food and how to mesh food with value as an integral part of life. What was interesting: this was less an interview and more of a conversation. We talked for a good 15 minutes and I’ve highlighted a snippet of our conversation below.
I’m curious about the partnership with Morning Fresh and how it links to your history.
Washing up is where I started, so there’s a zen moment for me there. It’s important to stay humble about your beginnings. And partnering with Morning Fresh makes sense. It has to make sense; it’s not about a cheque.
I like that a lot: when life events connect as a story like that. What are ways to make connections with the food produced from the earth and food we eat?
Just take a look where we are right now. George speaks with his hands bringing emphasis on his words. Even in this tiny space there are veges growing.
In our backyard, I recently planted tomatoes and herbs like oregano, sage, thyme, coriander, parsley with the kids. What are some ways we can enjoy the harvest?
The first thing is to allow the kids to enjoy tomatoes straight off the vine. And then, cut in half, with olive oil and just a little salt. Make a basic pasta and a simple tomato sauce by smashing up tomato with onion and a few herbs. There’s such a joy in being able to make pasta from a bit of flour and egg.
I can feel myself getting excited about putting this into practice. In this modern world, we tend to compartmentalise things — cooking here, family time there — how to make it more about living and less about the respective tasks.
You know what it is? It’s watching my son eating broad beans, directly from the plant in the backyard. My mum goes on about how it should be prepared and all that, but I think, let him enjoy it. It’s about living. Just the other day, my son walked in on me in the shower; he was desperate to show me something he was excited about. And I thought, this is what it’s about: this stuff; these moments.
Do you have a favourite childhood comfort food?
When we were young, all the kids were having chicken nuggets but my mum wasn’t going to give us something from a packet. So she made lamb brains (crumbed) and to us it was chicken nuggets. We didn’t know any different.
I like your mum. You know, something I find hard about food, is lack of inspiration when I cook for six people most nights. How do you keep it interesting?
It’s mixing it up. When we were growing up, every Friday night was down at the local Chinese place. It was bad Chinese: I realise now — all yellow greasy rice — but at the time, I thought it was fabulous.
The event was hosted at the Bite Club House in Woollahra, Sydney. The renovated home retained a rustic charm giving it a old-world, and intimate feel.
Was an amazing treat to eat such beautiful food!
Slow cooked salmon in olive oil, black tahini, pickled cucumbers, prawn crackers
Millionaires Moussaka with Fennel Salad
White chocolate mousse with berry compote and crumble
The dessert was fabulous; absolutely my favourite and so very clever. It all looked so much like soap that I had to get my head around the concept before I took a bite. Awesome.
Behind the Scenes
The atmosphere was brilliant, and I took video for a seek peek behind the scenes of the event and more about the new product: Morning Fresh Power Soaker. I’ve been using it at home for a few weeks now and I love it. In a nutshell, it’s a pre-wash soaker detergent that works in 10 minutes for ease of cleaning off baked on stuff on pots, pans and casserole dishes.
“Morning Fresh’s Power Soaker speeds up the cleaning process dramatically while ensuring we maintain our philosophy of delivering the highest quality for our guests.” — George Calombaris
I put this video together with candid footage of interacting with George Calombaris and the story behind the success of the product by David Tesoriero from Cussons.
I was not paid for this post. I was treated to a lovely lunch with George Calombaris by Morning Fresh — loved it; wanted to share it. All views are my own. You can read more about my disclosure policy here.