I trained as a Landscape Architect, and what I loved most about my time in that field was that things would always be changing. No two jobs were ever the same, and creative inspiration is ever-evolving. Now running my own little catering and event styling business, I find that food and events are similar in this way – no two events, and in fact no two meals are ever quite the same! I also like the timelines better when working with food – it’s a quick turnaround, food is made, spaces created, enjoyed and experienced and completed in the space of a weekend. I found that when I was working in landscape, I would be the one putting my hand up to organise the events and would always do little extra things, like make matching aprons or bespoke keepsakes for the guests at exhibitions. It took some time to find my way… but after a couple of stints overseas, I knew that my heart was in making food, meeting people, moving around and designing concepts. I look back on my 9.00 – 5.00 job and realise that my favourite conversations were ‘what have you got for lunch?’ For a time I worked in a landscape office in Amsterdam and they had a chef that came and made a hot lunch every day – I know, very spoilt, right!? He would ring the bell and all 30 of us would head upstairs and sit and share lunch together. I loved the equality in everyone taking time for lunch, where we all left feeling nourished (or wanting an afternoon nap after the extra pieces of bread and gouda I would eat!) and you had an opportunity to chat to people in the office that you might not get to know otherwise. This really inspired me to reconsider the importance of lunch!
Now that I work for myself and my job is to feed people, it’s pretty easy for me to get excited about food. From making a quick and simple pumpkin soup to a more intense 14-hour slow cooked beef cheek. I so look forward to lunch and am already thinking about it before I’ve finished breakfast or even dinner from the night before! I am on the go a lot, so I find that my lunches need to be easy and portable to eat on the run! Everyone gets so excited and posts loads of pictures about breakfast bowls and dinner ideas (I am guilty of that too!) – but what about LUNCH? It’s the forgotten meal! With a little bit of extra love going into your mid-day meal, you will find that it’s much easier to get through the day. And who knows, maybe you can create a stronger community at your workplace by encouraging people to sit together and chat over their meal. There’s so many possibilities for lunch, how did we let it fall by the wayside? Let’s bring lunch back! Are you with me? I understand the last thing on your mind in the morning when you are focussing on lots of tasks while trying to get out the door and dreaming of your first coffee for the day certainly does not inspire excitement for the preparation of lunch. But for this month’s Tasty Tuesday I hope to change this mentality, and have put together four tasty and inspiring ‘grown-up lunch boxes!’. You can prep and pack most of the lunchbox components the night before, and really, although we’ve ramped it up a bit with home made treats and other side dishes included, you can pick and choose your favourite elements and create your own combinations using store-bought ingredients or even leftover from the night before…. More than anything, I hope this series might inspire you to just think a little more creatively about your lunch! We’re kicking off the series with the ‘free-fairing friend’ lunchbox, which contains heaps of options for those trying to avoid gluten, dairy and /or meat. I don’t mind cooking for my free-fairing friends one little bit (gluten free, dairy free, low sugar and vegetarian). In fact I enjoy it as it encourages me to think outside of the culinary box, or lunchbox so-to-speak. So this first lunchbox is for my vegetarian, low sugar, low dairy (besides the popcorn) and gluten-free friends. It will keep you feeling nourished and fulfilled, giving you enough energy to take on the second half of your day with gusto.