Hello and welcome!
I am Melissa, otherwise known as The Bondi Cook and this year I started a business making and selling take-home food for the busy folk of Bondi in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs from The Bondi Cook…at Home label. Dishes like fresh pizza dough, chicken and coriander dumplings, slow-roasted lamb, fresh labneh and tomato chilli jam… At this stage I’m still only small so make everything from scratch myself – so I know what’s in it, and it’s all good! I take all my orders by midday on Wednesday and then pick up is from me in Bondi on Friday afternoons or the following Monday. In the sidebar here to the right you’ll see a link to my latest newsletter via my Facebook page, or click here to get through to the page facebook.com/thebondicook/.
Also here you’ll find all the recipes I use in my other job cooking with the children in the Kitchen Garden Program at Bondi Public School in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. Bondi Public School is the Demonstration School in Sydney for the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program.We are lucky to have such a important program at our school, included as part of the curriculum for children in Years 3 to 6, with the younger students visiting us from time to time throughout the year.
Our school is big enough to have its own large Kitchen Garden that supplies pretty much most of the vegetables for our cooking lessons (grown, tended to and harvested by the students too!), so our menus are predominantly vegetarian although not exclusively so. We cater for a number of children at the school with dietary needs such as Coeliac disease, lactose intolerance and anaphylaxis to various ingredients, so I always do my best to look after those particular kids and make sure they are included but most importantly are not in any danger with foods that they eat or touch.
With conflicting advice on diet and food appearing every week in the newspapers, and fast food company donations from government agencies to sports teams, it’s sometimes hard to work out what’s best and healthiest – and most convenient – to give your children. In this program we teach children the value of seasonal, local and (ideally) as chemical-free as possible, and most importantly how to prepare it and cook it themselves. This empowers children in making choices for themselves and also builds confidence in meal preparation, and crucially in tasting -and enjoying – the foods that they create.
We are incredibly lucky to have the patronage of Wholefoods House in Woollahra who donate a weekly shopping trolley worth of goods to our program. It is due to Wholefoods House that we are able to use premium organic ingredients in our cooking, such as Demeter flours and Nolan’s Road chickpeas and olive oil, for example, and safe handwashing liquid and dishwashing detergents. We are very grateful for this ongoing donation, now in its seventh year. We are also very humbled by the support of Bondi parents, grandparents and community members who help supervise and encourage the children in each class. Anyone who volunteers for a Kitchen Garden class realises that the show cannot go on without any help! So thank you.
School holiday programs: with the help of my friends Carolyn from nutrikids.com.au and Mish, the Bondi SAKGP gardener, I run programs every holiday for children aged 8 to 12 from The Cottage at Bondi PS. We get the kids doing everything themselves, echoing all the vital ideals of the SAKGP, from harvesting the produce from our garden beds, to prepping and chopping, to cooking, cleaning up and, most importantly eating the beautiful vegetable dishes they’ve created! For details on the next program, please click on the tab at the top of the page.
And for any grown-ups out there: I also run the occasional evening and weekend workshop in Bondi for adults wanting to brush up on their cooking skills, or wanting to get back to basics: pasta-making, jam-making, marmalades, olives and other preserves. I run wine evenings too: Introduction to Wine courses, new season tastings, food matching and advanced classes, it’s all going on in the Cottage! Send me a message if you’re keen to join the next class.
I hope you enjoy it all,
You can also follow me on Instagram @thebondicook