A passion for fine food but also healthy lifestyle choices motivates Border chef Melissa Pollard.
“The cleaner you eat, the better you feel,” she said.
“I like to use a lot of colour and fresh seasonal produce.”
Pollard, who opened her own Albury business The Elms Cafe nearly four months ago, always enjoyed cooking from a young age.
“I would cook for my family most nights,” she said.
“When I started high school, I did hospitality class and work placement and left early to pursue a career as a chef.”
After starting her apprenticeship at the Hovell Tree Inn, Pollard moved to Bathurst and worked “in a lovely cafe”.
“The same owner also owned a boutique hotel and required the occasional catering, which was amazing,” she said.
A couple of years later, she moved back to Albury, working at the Resort Siesta and then becoming head chef of Hotel on Olive/ Mercure Albury.
“Although it’s a tough industry – no social life, long hours, high stress, very physical – it is a rewarding industry to be in,” she said.
“You’re meeting new people and it’s satisfying when they appreciate your hospitality.”
Pollard said The Elms Cafe had been going well, with customers liking her meal prep packs.
“Moving forward I would like to open Friday and Saturday nights and also expand on my meal prep and catering,” she said.
What’s your favourite spring dish? Chicken burrito bowl.
What’s your favourite season? I love spring, not too hot, not cold and not too busy. It’s just right and we tend to eat a bit lighter.
What are the staples in your pantry now? A variety of nuts and grains, coconut oil and spices.
What is your earliest cooking memory? I made minestrone soup for dinner, it was a cold, wet afternoon.
Which ingredients do you grow yourself? I grow edible flowers and herbs.
Which six people would you invite to dinner? I would invite all my beautiful staff and Sara from Chambers Wines to show them how much I appreciate all their help and efforts.
What is your favourite foodie ritual? Occasionally I like to treat myself to dinner. It’s not often, but it’s nice to have someone else wait on you. I appreciate it so much.
What are you bingeing on TV? If anything. I’m lucky to have five hours of TV time a week.
What did you have for dinner last night? Asian broth with prawn and ginger dumplings.
What are you drinking at the moment? Coffee.
Details: The Elms Cafe
515 Kiewa Street, Albury
(02) 6041 4178
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