Why did you decide to become a chef?
I was inspired to become a chef because my mother was always a great cook. We were fortunate to always have home made meals for dinner every night, and there was never a short supply of home baked goods on the kitchen counter. The whole family would especially look forward to events such as Easter and Christmas where my mother would invite everyone around the table to have their input for the menu. I remember having large discussions/arguments over whether we would have banana cream pie or pavlova for dessert, both family favourites.
Where and how were you trained?
I was trained in Melbourne at Holmesglen Moorabbin TAFE full time while working at the MCG. We were lucky enough to get the opportunity to do work experience in the the lead up to the AFL grand final. When the work experience concluded I was offered a position and worked there for a year while finishing my certificate. I was then taken across to another Spotless venue Hawthorne arts centre by Executive chef Christophe Serre who mentored me for almost 2 years until I moved to Brisbane.
What’s your favourite thing about Brisbane’s food scene?
I feel like a lot of the chefs specifically in the Brisbane café scene are young and innovative.
There are no set rules that come with breakfast so I enjoy seeing what other chefs come up with for their menus.
Originally being from Melbourne, what do you think of the workplace dynamic down there compared to Brisbane?
I found the places I worked in Melbourne were a lot more structured with the way the businesses were run, with a strict chain of command. Since moving to Brisbane and working in cafes I have found the atmosphere a lot more relaxed and laid back. I have enjoyed the change of pace and more freedom to create at Miss Bliss Whole-foods.
Where would you like to be in 5 years?
In five years I see myself running a consulting business where I help cafes and restaurants set up by helping with menu planning, costing of products, helping with efficient ordering, equipment knowledge and setting up accounts with suppliers.
What’s it like working at a café with majority female staff?
I have found working in a café with a majority female staff the same as working in any other café.
It is important to hire the right person for the job regardless of gender. I once worked for owners of a café that mentioned they wouldn’t hire another female to work alongside me because they didn’t want any bitchiness. Obviously that kind of attitude is ludacris and outdated.
How do you keep thinking of amazing concepts and dishes for Miss Bliss? Where do you find inspo/motivation?
Inspiration can come from anywhere, sometimes while walking through a fresh produce market, sometimes by making a mistake you can see another way to repurpose something. I find traveling and eating out a lot you see new and interesting techniques that can spark an idea.
In a male dominated industry, how can more women be encouraged to enter the profession, and why is that important?
Females have a lot to offer the culinary world so it is in all chefs best interest to give
them equal opportunities. It is important as a female chef to not expect an easy ride, if you want to be treated as equal you must be prepared to put the work in. Some of the hardest working chefs I know are females like my sous chef Nikki Sharrock. It is hard as females in many different occupations but just remember that you are leading the way for the next generation.
Who are the role models for female chefs today, and who are your role models? // Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?
My Aunty Pauline has always been a big inspiration to me. Pauline is a medal winning cake decorator and a member and judge of the NZ Cake Decorators Guild. A qualified chef Pauline has also held the title of Pastry Chef of the Nation (2005 and 2006), and was a member of the NZ Culinary Team in 2007. I remember watching her make absolutely stunning cakes as a child. I would sit at her table watching her painstakingly handmake hundreds of rose petals while she drank copious amounts of coffee. Seeing the finished product was always a magical moment.
IG - @scarllettoliiviia