fbpx
x

Be part of our crowd.

Be the first to discover new treasures, workshop info and read new stories on our journal.

FREE SHIPPING OVER $50 AUSTRALIA WIDE | AFTERPAY AVAILABLE ON ALL ORDERS
STORIES

COMMON PEOPLE #8

Rachel Potter, Killara NSW

A mother, freelance chef and sustainability advocate Rachel Potter has created her own little oasis in her suburban backyard. Rachel takes us through a tour of her garden full of fresh produce, chickens and honey beehives. Being raised by her Gran, Rachel has been waste-free cooking for as long as she can remember and teaches us that you really can feed a tribe with only a few cents to your name. 


Words by Noel & Gladys

Images by Noel & Gladys


STORIES

COMMON PEOPLE #8

Rachel Potter, Killara NSW

A mother, freelance chef and sustainability advocate Rachel Potter has created her own little oasis in her suburban backyard. Rachel takes us through a tour of her garden full of fresh produce, chickens and honey beehives. Being raised by her Gran, Rachel has been waste-free cooking for as long as she can remember and teaches us that you really can feed a tribe with only a few cents to your name. 


Words by Noel & Gladys

Images by Noel & Gladys


Tell us about your journey as a freelance chef?

I’ve always been interested in cooking after being raised by my grandmother who would bake her own bread. I’ve worked in education, I’ve been a fashion designer and eventually when the kids were older I had the opportunity to study and learn commercial cookery. It’s a long story but I eventually went and got my accreditation met some amazing people like Brent Savage at Yellow who I was lucky enough to get a gig with for a short time which gave me the experience to know that I didn’t want to be a line chef or a line cook in a restaurant and wanted to do my own thing.

Was your garden part of your chef’s journey?

Back in the day Burke’s Backyard found me and he came and filmed here in the garden, you can probably find the DVD in Target or Kmart or something, he came we did some shows together and he asked me to be a chef on stage for him at the ABC Australian Garden Show in Centennial Park. So I cooked demonstrations on stage which got me serious about studying commercial cookery.

What have you got growing in your garden? Any tips?

I’ve got different beds spread through the front and back yards of the house, growing Asparagus Brussel Sprouts, Strawberries, Spinach, Kale, Sweet Potato and so many more. 

There’s no point growing anything without good soil. I’m constantly mixing the soil every time I harvest from it, I add a good amount of compost from our three big compost bins and sometimes I add mushroom compost from a farm up in Richmond. 

  When I’m in this backyard I feel like I could be anywhere, I feel like I’m coming home to my little oasis.

  When I’m in this backyard I feel like I could be anywhere, I feel like I’m coming home to my little oasis. 
Tell us more about the background of your garden. 

When I’m in this backyard I feel like I could be anywhere, I feel like I’m coming home to my little oasis. We bought the property around 17 years ago and the backyard was solid bamboo, it took three different types of machinery to eventually remove it all. 

I love our pizza oven made with gorgeous tiny bricks handmade in Turkey and built by my husband. Through the summer we will use it for multiple meals, we make the dough and people make their own pizzas with different toppings from the garden, then after we slow roast a meal and usually in the morning it’s still hot enough to bake bread. We’ve learnt that understanding the heat levels throughout the stages means we can really maximise the energy produced from the oven.

Where did the concept of a waste-free cooking come from?

I was brought up by my Gran and that’s just how she lived her life, I remember when plastic bags came into existence I was only very young, so when my Grandmother came home with her first plastic shopping bags she would wash them then hang on the line. They were so unusual and so precious she could see so many uses for them, that wouldn’t have been unusual for people when plastic bags first come into existence. 

Every afternoon when I came home from school she was actually baking her own bread, and I remember it wasn’t until I was 9 that a realised you could buy bread from the supermarket. I just assumed everyone baked their own bread. So consciously cooking comes naturally to me because of my upbringing, obviously like everyone else I could be doing better like one day I would love to make my own cheddar cheese for my boys. 

  …I remember when plastic bags came into existence I was only very young, so when my Grandmother came home with her first plastic shopping bags she would wash them then hang on the line. They were so unusual and so precious she could see so many uses for them… 

 …I remember when plastic bags came into existence I was only very young, so when my Grandmother came home with her first plastic shopping bags she would wash them then hang on the line. They were so unusual and so precious she could see so many uses for them… 
What initiatives have you been involved in lately?

I’ve been working with our local school on different sustainable projects. We’re building a sustainable patch up at the local primary school where we are digging up the drains and putting in special drains to catch water, we’re also putting in a pizza oven and veggie patches. 

We’re also talking to the kids about the environmental impacts of rainwater tanks and temperatures then using that in Maths. We are teaching them how to measure temperature and create different  graphs which is essentially educating kids about sustainability and connecting it back to the syllabus. I’ve had a number of other schools in our area also interested in these initiatives. 

Our school has a slushy machine and when I volunteer in the school canteen I get a free lunch for my kids, so I say to them they can have a slushy only if we take in our own cup, our metal straw and our metal spoon. When they’re in the playground the other kids are asking where they got these from, I tell my kids I don’t want them using the throw away cup from the canteen or the throw away straw I’ve just being doing that for a few weeks now. Funnily enough last night we received a bulletin from the school as part of Package Free Day that if you bring your own reusable cup and your own straw you’ll get a free piece of frozen fruit. I feel like it’s really key to be an example in your community without being too preachy about your beliefs and others will catch on.

What are you cooking for us today?

So I’m making a Scachatta which is an Italian bread just a little bit more dense, the good thing about this recipe is that you can use any sort of topping you want and can change it to being a sweet bread or a savoury bread. Today I’m making it with some onion weeds and dandelion flowers so these are weeds you would see anywhere around but people throw them out to rot but they’re completely edible and really delicious. I almost don’t buy shallots anymore as this has a really mild onion flavour and is beautiful and serves the same purpose as an eshallot or french shallot. And then I’ve got a few edible flowers I’m throwing on. It would make like a sweet bread if you put some pickled grapes with some rosemary, it would be really beautiful. 

AND the good thing about this which I really love is this whole thing cost me about 65 cents to make, so this whole slab is really economical and great for any function or party because it’s so cheap to make.

 

Learn more about Rachel here.


PREVIOUS ENTRY
COMMON PEOPLE #7
Tanya Pont, Clifton NSW

The creative lover of all good things spends most of her time in her Clifton seaside cottage and finds the positives in her daily commute to Sydney by taking the opportunity to do the things that we normally wouldn’t make time to do.