THE VISION of a globetrotting chef has become a reality in the inner city suburb of South Brisbane, with the launch of Wandering Cooks – Brisbane’s largest multi-kitchen and cooking community for food entrepreneurs.
Wandering Cooks’ founder and director, Angela Hirst, is about to unveil her new business venture and versatile kitchen space, designed around the unique needs of market stallholders, caterers and café suppliers.
Located off Cordelia Street in a transformed warehouse, this multi-kitchen community is a place where food businesses can lease a licensed commercial kitchen, have access to storage, work with a network of key suppliers or distributors and seize marketing opportunities to boost their profiles.
Angela said Wandering Cooks was less about businesses being in competition with each other and more about working together to achieve business success.
“My hope is that we can become an incubator for ideas and a network of support for budding food entrepreneurs in the Brisbane food community,” said Angela.
“Foodies will have access to event spaces, a library of cookbooks, office facilities and a bunch of exciting upcoming activities, including a night market and trade exhibits,” she said.
Angela’s recipe for business stemmed from her continual struggle to find a decent kitchen to cook from – initially when she was a caterer and then when she hosted regular cooking classes – however it was her recent plans to launch a brand of homemade preserves that encouraged her to take the next step.
“I kept hitting a wall, which was made out of my inability to find an affordable, convenient and legal way of cooking. I knew that I had two options – either struggle with my limited space and guilty conscience at home in my own kitchen, or give up!” said Angela.
“I became very passionate about helping other cooks in the early stages of their business development, by providing them with previously unavailable resources for their success,” she said.
For Angela, food fascination began as a child, but her experience in hospitality amped up a notch six years ago, when she decided to leave Australia to follow her dream of becoming a chef, despite having trained in Architecture, traversed into Philosophy, and finished her PhD in Food Ethics.
“I knew that architecture wasn’t for me when I found myself spending hours drawing trees and gardens instead of buildings,” she said.
“I became intrigued by permaculture, a form of landscape design that’s about making our urban environments edible, so I focused my PhD on the question: Why is it so easy for us urban dwellers to avoid responsibility toward the places where our food is produced?”
After a short time, Angela became conscious of the origin of ingredients, so she threw herself into cooking on an organic farm and cooking school in Ireland, where she developed a passion for ethical farming and organic cooking.
“I really wanted to work somewhere that cared as much as I did, about the difference that starting with the very best ingredients could make to an end product.”
From here, she worked as a chef at the Michelin-starred Petersham Nurseries Café (run at the time by Australian born chef and author Skye Gyngell), and then at Paris’ famous Rose Bakery, where she was given free reign over the daily changing menu.
These days, Angela juggles the daily routine of a 3-year-old toddler with the demands of a start-up business, from new clients to social media, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Wandering Cooks kitchens are open now and taking bookings, so give them a call.