Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chef Secrets - Interview with Rumble Chat

Rumble Chat is a great blog created by 2 foodies to help other foodies make the most of Social Media.  They understand Social Media, and they understand food.  I was delighted when they contacted me and asked to interview me for their blog. I have copied the interview below but they have heaps of recipes from some great chefs from around the world on their blog.

Interview with Rumble Chat 
Today we hear from Australia again (the first time was interview number 40, Bev Vahland). Julie is a trainee pastry chef who also blogs at Sweetgum Bakery (as you'll find out below, she's rather partial to chocolate!). Thanks for your time Julie, stay in touch, we'd like to know what you get up to once you graduate!


Where do you currently work?
Currently studying at
Holmesglen TAFE in Victoria

What is your role?
Trainee Pastry Chef

How did you learn to cook?
Believe it or not, I was an incredibly fussy eater as a child and my attempts in the home economics class at school were always an epic fail. I first started to cook after leaving home to go to University in Sheffield. I learned to cook by watching plenty of daytime cooking shows at Uni and cooking with my flatmates in the evenings. The last six years have really opened my eyes to new tastes and flavours, especially after travelling to countries like Vietnam and Thailand and exploring different cuisines. Melbourne is a fantastic city with lots of great quality food and cheap restaurants. My husband and I love cooking together and trying to recreate dishes from our favourite restaurants. I find cooking very relaxing and the perfect way to unwind after studying or working.

What are your favourite ingredients and why?
My favourite herb is coriander, I could eat it with every meal. Coriander is so versatile and I have a constant supply in my backyard which feeds my addiction. In terms of baking, my favourite ingredient is chocolate. For me there is nothing nicer than a slice of fudgey chocolate cake with strawberries and cream.

Which kitchen gadget(s) are you particularly fond of? 
I have a whole toolkit of equipment but my most favourite gadget is simply my wooden spoon which I use week in, week out. It's such a simple tool but it can be used for all manner of things - beating sugar and butter together or whipping up delicious sauces. Theres something humble about using your hands and simple equipment to make delicious food rather than fancy machines and electronics.

What's your favourite food memory?
My husband and I went to Vietnam in 2009, we had planned a trip to Halong Bay but a typhoon delayed our arrival and we ended up being the only couple on the old junk boat in the Bay. We had a team of staff showing us round the islands and serving three course meals several times a day. I felt very spoilt. We ate so much seafood and the most delicious dragonfruit, it doesn't taste the same anywhere else. The memory that stands out the most is having a seafood dinner at the front of the boat, under the stars. The food was spectacular and the setting was magical.

Who do you most admire in the culinary world?
I admire lots of cooks and chefs. In no particular order: Luke Nugyen, Jaime Oliver, Maggie Beer, Janella Purcell...the list goes on and on...

What country do you most like to visit for their cuisine?
I feel lucky to live in Australia as every state has its own food identity. A recent visit to Tasmania reinforced this opinion, the apple island has so may fresh fruit stalls, vegetables and seafood.

Do you have any guilty food secrets?
Probably eating too much chocolate!

Have you had any culinary disasters?
Too many to mention. I have come a long way since my days of cooking pasta every night for dinner. I once tried to make pomegrante cheesecake but it didn't work on so many levels. I also attempted to make a coulis which ended up more like a solid spread - such a waste of delicious raspberries!

What would your last meal on Earth be? Who would cook it?
My husband would cook me a three course feast. We would start with homemade dips, crackers and cheese. We would drink a New Zealand Savignon Blanc and our main would be a chilli chicken stir fry with rice noodles and lots of coriander and flaked almonds. I would make the dessert and it would be a chocolate truffle cake with a praline and sweet risotto layer. We would finish with hot chocolate for me and a coffee for him.

What tips would you give to any aspiring chefs?
Follow your dreams and be prepared to make a leap towards something you love, you won't regret it.
Julie Nicholson


  1. Fantastic interview Julie! I love the sound of your 3 course meal too!

    1. Thanks Lauren! :D I'm making the chocolate cake in class on saturday - looking forward to it