What’s the inspiration behind your recipe, and can you recall the moment the idea was born?
The inspiration behind my recipe was my Mum. She made this recipe for my siblings and I when we were children and young adults, and we loved it. It holds memories of many happy family meals for me and I hope will do the same for my own children.
It is also a huge favourite with my friends for Sunday lunches or Saturday night dinner parties. When I had to audition for the show, it was the first recipe to jump into my head even though I have hundreds that I could have used. It is one of the most flavoursome meals I have ever cooked and one that family and friends ask me to make all the time!
Who do you think your recipe is perfect for?
This recipe is perfect for everyone. It is comfort food of the highest order! But it is also versatile. It can be teamed with potato mash for a wholesome family meal or with a parsnip and potato puree for a more sophisticated event.
How has your recipe evolved since the first time you made it, and what were the challenges of preparing a commercial quantity?
Since my Mother made this recipe, I have added more red wine, more garlic and herbs and seasoning.
The challenges of preparing in a commercial kitchen were huge. Firstly, my calculations were way out and I was daunted by the prospects of cooking 80 kilos of oxtail. Unfamiliar ovens, enormous saucepans, huge quantities of ingredients and adapting to working with helpers put me into unfamiliar territory. But once I got my head around it all, and was able to get into a rhythm, I enjoyed it!
What was the best piece of advice you received from the judges?
The best piece of advice from the judges was not to panic and to use the extra chefs to my advantage. In other words, I had to learn to delegate and work as a team, something one doesn’t get to do in a home environment.
What was the most surprising thing you learnt about the process of turning a recipe into a commercial product?
The most surprising thing about turning a home meal into a commercial product was the sheer amount of product required! And I was impressed by the amount of time that went into selecting the packaging and branding for the product. I enjoyed this process immensely. I loved the brainstorming of ideas and found the meetings, especially with Nobby, incredibly creative, exciting and rewarding.
From your experience, what advice what you give someone who has an idea but doesn’t know where to start trying to make a success out of it?
The advice I would give someone who has an idea of turning a recipe into a commercial product first of all is to be passionate about your recipe and ask yourself why you want to share the recipe with thousands of people. Think about who would buy your product. Check out your competition and see who you would be up against. Try to come up with something original, whether it is your actual product or your packaging. Branding is an important part of the whole concept so a lot of thought needs to be put into that as well. Target who your market will be and have the courage of your convictions!! Practice on your friends and get feedback from them.
What does the future hold for yourself and your recipe? Any other great ideas in the pipeline you could give us a taster of?
The future for me I hope will be very bright. I am up for a change of careers!
I hope to educate Australians about the joys of eating oxtail and other not so well known cuts of meat. I’d like to introduce Australians to the many other ways this meat can be enjoyed, such as a sauce with pasta or a soup. It is a tasty, economical dish that can be part of the family menu or a special meal to share with friends. I have developed several variations already. I would like to introduce consumers to the delights of slow cooking but also to show how once the dish is made, how easily it can be transformed into other recipes.
One meal can easily be stretched to several others, therefore cost effective and I would like to develop more recipes like this.