LUNCH LADIES : DInner series at TIGGY

Arriving home in early October after the incredibly exhilarating stint I had in Istanbul left me feeling somewhat anxious. After all this time I hadn't been home in almost 2 years! And I was anxious because it wasn't my plan to come home just yet. With Hurricane Irma putting next seasons BVI sailing work on hold and the Winter settling in the Northern hemisphere, my plans were forced to change, I had to keep moving and it was time to head south!

As soon as the plane drew down over the lights of Melbourne, I was so overwhelmed with excitement and curiosity. Excitement of all the people I've missed so much and wished were with me during many life changing moments.. and curiosity of all the new and old things awaiting.

Weeks before coming home I got in touch with my dear friends Sarah Booth and chef Christina Mayer to collaborate on some work at Tiggy Cafe, a canteen style lunch spot in Schoolhouse Studios, Collingwood. These ladies along with Julia Dunne, champion Tiggy lady, serve up only one dish a day (with meat, vegetarian and vegan option) that not only engage a regular troop of lunch goers but also highlight the comfort of home cooked meals and how creativity behind a small counter help to build community, conversation and connection. During the month that I got to cook lunch, I came to realise how much people valued the Tiggy lunch ladies.. not only for their finesse in a small kitchen with 1 oven, 2 (temperamental) portable inductions and a toaster.. but for the care that everybody felt when they got to have a laugh with Boothy, a hug from Jules and the best espresso brownie (and actually everything else!!) from Christina!

The concept behind the #lunchladydinnerseries was to open up a new space for the lunch lady to deliver their most imaginative and loved meals in a 5 course degustation. And over 4 dinners we served fusion menus keeping people guessing dish after dish. In the early morning we served coffee, homebaked sweets and a bowl of whatever goodness came together that day. By night, we transformed the space into a candle lit haven speckled with light from a rotating disco balI over beautiful and delicious plates alongside matching wine.

I cannot express in enough words how so grateful I am to have had the chance to collaborate with Christina Mayer and Gian Manik on some killer flavours.. thankyou. I'm also thankful to Boothy and Jules for driving me to the country and letting me spend time, it has been an inspiration to work with you ladies.

Thankyou to plans changing, for feeling anxious and for that to give way to people surprising me all the time.



Spring Veg
seaweed, toasted peanuts and an orange vinaigrette

Mushroom Wonton
woodear, button and enoki with dan dan sauce and chilli oil

Fish & Chips / Potato Salad
fish crispies, burnt miso roasted potatoes, turmeric aioli, salsa verde and lime

Lamb & Long Noodle

red date and chinese wine slow cooked lamb with hand rolled noodle

Broken Orange Lamington
served with cream


Photographs by Ben Thompson



 Wonton Tostada
with rockling ceviche and kiwi

Mole Verde
with roasted biang biang cauliflower

Five Spice Taco
carnitas, pica di gallo and pickled nopales

Mushroom Tamales
served with adobo and queso oaxaquena

Chilli Chocolate Cake
spiked with mandarin tequila and cream


Photographs by George Staniland


Mexichina 2

Wonton Tostada
fish ceviche, chilli oil and kiwi

Mole Verde
 Biang Biang and pickled cauliflower

Five Spice Nachos
carnitas, pica di gallo and queso oaxaquena

Mushroom Tamales
served with adobo and nasturtium flower

Coconut Black Rice Pudding
cardomom, cinnamon and salted sesame

Photos by Isabella Capezio