How many people are you cooking for?
I’m cooking for 27 hungry people and they certainly keep me very busy.
What time do you start work?
Early. I put out hot porridge, bircher muesli, and a ‘Donna’s Special’ which is a healthier option, bowl of mixed berries, granola, stewed rhubarb and apples, plus there is always their favourite cereal that they can choose from.
Yes I can hear the next question: What’s in a ‘Donna’s Special'?
Cooked quinoa, chia seeds, rolled oats, banana pieces, honey, yoghurt, rice milk, grated apple and coconut.
How many meals do you cook a day?
I cook three meals a day: smoko 10 am (morning tea), lunch 1 pm and dinner 6 pm. The biggest and most talked about meal is smoko, so I always have soup ready, freshly baked rolls, and then it’s something savoury, meaty or cheesy, and pastry can’t go wrong.
Lunch is usually left over last nights dinner, or pasta/fried rice, and there is a selection of salads and cold meat platters. Dinner is two types of meat, vegetables, a starch (potato, rice or pasta) and a vegetarian option. For dessert, plenty of ice-cream.
Also, we celebrate peoples’ birthdays so there is always a birthday cake.
Do you work the weekend?
I have every second Saturday off and every Sunday off. On the alternative Saturday I do brunch and a formal Saturday night dinner, cooking with the good cuts of meat, for example lamb rack, duck, salmon, or eye fillet. Everyone dresses up as if going out to a restaurant and the tables get wine glasses, candles etc. A great night sitting around the table talking, eating good food and having a lot of laughter.
What do you do with your spare time?
I break during the day for three hours and I like to go to the gym and do a workout. The gym is excellent and it’s very well used by mostly everyone. As for the weekend, if I’m not out at a hut, I’ll be knitting, reading, calling home and watching plenty of movies. But really there is so much to see and do at Casey — it’s great.
Do you get tired of cooking?
No. I love it. I have always been a chef and I am still learning so many new things. The team here are fantastic to cook for. They eat EVERYTHING, they are excellent veggie eaters too, not fussy and there are some keen helpers that have cooked up a meal or two when I’ve been off.
Do you get stuck for ideas?
Google is excellent for ideas, plus AAD subscribes to Delicious magazine downloaded to the iPad. Also, I have 26 other people that have heaps of ideas and favourite foods and meals. Friday nights are a casual dinner meal, meaning burgers and chips eaten in the bar area, or something like you would order at a pub back home.
Is there anything you miss in the way of food?
I miss fresh avocados, fresh garlic and fresh field mushrooms, my favourite food. We do have hydroponics here so we are getting fresh lettuce every week, plus in small amounts cucumbers, kale, capsicums and snow peas.
What fresh food do you still have?
Eggs, apples, cabbages and onions.
Well, I hope this has answered some of those food questions that people have been asking!