Family. Connection. Love. Nourishment. Magic and Creative Freedom.
These are the “Why’s” for my love of food.
Food is my underlying zest for life, the love of it running through my veins and manifesting in a deep desire to share my culinary magic with the world.
I thrive in the kitchen creating wildly experimental dishes, celebrating plants and wholefoods as a source of love, inspiration and nourishment.
I can’t wait to share the magic with you xx
My food philosophy
I’m here to celebrate plants and wholefoods. There are endless possibilities in the culinary plant kingdom, and it is a part of who I am to push the boundaries and explore every avenue of this space.
My passion lies in organic, pesticide free or biodynamic produce from local farmers, or when I’m cooking for my friends and family, straight from my backyard veggie patch. I am devoted to using ingredients with no added preservatives, additives or colours.
I have a true passion for catering to the needs of people that have food intolerances or allergies and create delicious food that is mostly gluten, dairy, refined sugar and soy free.
My food journey
I grew up with a Mum who allowed me space and creative freedom in the kitchen. I received my first ever cookbook from her when I was in primary school and she would always make sure she had the ingredients ready for me to make a mess in the kitchen! Mum always said I didn't get my cooking skills from her, but that I had the same passion for cooking as my Nan. My culinary spark ignited sitting on my Nan’s kitchen bench top helping her bake.
I always wanted to be a chef and in high school I started focusing on taking hospitality and home economics subjects, as well as working in hospitality after school and weekends . I also had a passion for beauty and hair – I was very creative and a hands-on learner, so this came easy to me. Taking an extra class at Tafe when in high school, I completed a nail technician certificate and my teacher talked me into doing my hairdressing apprenticeship while family & friends tried to steer me away from the unglamorous life of being a chef.
Despite a decade of working as a hairdresser, makeup artist and nail tech my passion for cooking never waivered and when I had my daughter Elkee, a switch flicked inside me and I could no longer ignore my passion for food.
I started ‘Gypsy Organic Foods’ as a market stall with the idea to sell packaged wholefoods ingredients to fill a gap in the market for my local town, Tannum Sands, QLD. Over the months, I started to offer a couple of raw cakes at the markets and eventually just the food I was making was selling like crazy! I ended up phasing out the packaged wholefoods, and mostly made fresh food, cakes & slices, sauerkrauts, jams, chilli sauce, salads, raw cheese platters etc. and also supplied up to 5 cafes with my raw treats. I had quite a local following and absolutely loved it!
I was hungry for knowledge so I completed a 1 week ‘Raw Food Chef’ training in Sydney. The 1 week course was a great start but I was thirsty for more, to really hone in on my plant based culinary skills. I discovered Matthew Kenney – a plant based chef in America, who had culinary schools (PlantLab) and restaurants all over the US. I decided that was the path I was going to take and made it my mission to complete the following all within 1 year!
- 4 weeks online – level one Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine (PlantLab) 2016
- 4 weeks online – level two Advanced Raw Cuisine (PlantLab) 2016
- 4 weeks onsite Belfast, Maine, USA – level three Professional applications of Raw Cuisine (PlantLab) 2016
- 4 weeks onsite New York, USA – Level four Food Future (PlantLab) 2016
- 2 weeks online – Plant based desserts (PlantLab) 2016
- Taught 4 weeks - level one for PlantLab pop-up school in Sydney 2017
To be honest, that was the best decision I’ve ever made! I loved every minute of it.
When I came home from completing my culinary training in the US, I decided to rebrand to heidi.flora before moving to the Byron Bay region.
New beginnings and the journey unfolded from there.
What I’m doing now
Currently, I’m loving life in the Byron Bay region.
I spend most of my weeks creating beautiful custom cakes and treats for customers special occasions. I’m also available for catering, product development, recipe development, food photography & styling and creative collaborations with local businesses in the Byron Shire.
Right now, I’m working on some pop up dinners in the Byron area, so that I can showcase my food in a different way than I have before.
I’m loving the way heidi.flora is evolving on its own here and am so grateful for the support from the community.
I can’t wait to be apart of your next special occasion and keep sharing the magic with you