Yamba foodie Meredith Morschel shares some tasty tales of food, family and life in Yamba
I grew up in Nambour, a small town in South East Queensland, surrounded by paddocks and dairy farms. I was one of five children. Mum went back to work when I was 12. I wanted to help, and cooking was a way I could contribute to the family and take the pressure off her. I would cook dinners or make biscuits or cake for my Dad’s morning tea.
On Sundays we would go to Nanna’s for a roast. She would often be in the kitchen baking, creaming butter and sugar in a ceramic bowl. My siblings and I would fight over who could lick the bowl once she was done.
In the eighties, eating out only happened on special occasions. Mum would take me to a café in Noosa, or for an early dinner somewhere. At the base of Noosa National Park there used to be a little restaurant. I vividly remember being served chicken satay sticks with proper satay sauce – my first experience of authentic Asian food.
As a teenager, my love of cooking continued. I found inspiration from Gourmet Traveller magazine, eating out and from my Mum’s friend Pam. She was alternative, loved food and had a wonderful flare for using different ingredients. Pam was a mentor and encouraged me to experiment beyond ‘meat and three veg’ meals.
I studied hotel management after school and had a dream to own a food business, which was realised in the form of a little café which Scott (my husband) and I bought in 1997. Our café in Mona Vale served modern Australian fare; we opened for breakfast and lunch. Our philosophy was always to do our own baking, make things from scratch – when you cook as much as you can, part of you is reflected in the food you make, so for me it’s a way of sharing love.
In 2005 we decided to move to Yamba. It was a good halfway point between our families. Two years later I saw an opening for a kitchen shop. Kitchen to Table was inspired by our shared love of food and cooking. We also offered cooking classes for small groups. In the beginning we engaged local chefs to run the classes, when they became unavailable I stepped up to do them. It’s a way of sharing my love of food with our customers in a simple, do-it-at-home manner. Cooking classes are a fabulous way to share with our customers. We also offer food tours to Morocco and Italy. I love sharing my knowledge, and helping and educating our customers so they have a positive shopping experience in our store.
My favourite thing about Yamba is the natural beauty – coming in over the Oyster Channel bridge and seeing all that water laid out before you, the trees, national parks and beaches.
I love going back to the city for a couple of days but the minute I cross over that bridge I’m home again. I came from a small town and at first was reluctant to move to another small town. Having a business makes you part of the community and you make lots of lovely connections along the way.
Written by Leigh Bancroft. Photos by Gary Parker.