What are your ‘non-negotiable’ when it comes to diet & lifestyle?
Jade; I won't compromise my health for wealth. Local, seasonal and organic produce is a must for me, and makes up the bulk of my diet. I happily forego what I consider non- essentials (I cut my own hair, I don't own a mobile phone and buy clothes almost exclusively second hand, for example) and spend the extra cash on anything I feel is good for me; mind, body or soul. Oh, and I avoid chemicals (in food, cleaning products, linen, clothes, kitchen products) like the plague.
When & how did you first begin cooking?
Kathie; I moved out of home at 17, not really knowing anything about cooking and without much knowledge on nutrition and unsurprisingly I quickly started to create some pretty bad eating habits and soon after my body started to suffer. When I made the connection that whatever I put into my body directly affected me so much, and thankfully after years of living with Jade who was studying nutrition at the time, I started to take an interest in my health.
When did you realise how much you loved it?
Jade; Living abroad. When I was 19 I moved to New Zealand and, while I'd always cooked, I'd never taken full charge of my health. It didn't take long to realise that a typical travellers diet was not very sustaining.
At the time I was travelling around and working in backpackers, mainly in exchange for a free bed. My bank balance was almost non-existent, and so I had to be pretty creative. We (the other workers and I) would often survive off of unwanted goods (donated condiments, spare greens, extra produce, perhaps ½ a bag of flour) and mussels scavenged from the coastal rocks (before I became vegan). Haha, It sounds like a depressing story, but it was so much fun! We had a ball and, being a bunch of kids from all over the globe, we were able to share intricacies of so many different cuisines. That was the first time I really loved creating meals.
What inspired you to start doing what you do? How has your brand developed and what have been some milestones for you?
Kathie; I have a vivid memory of travelling Asia with Jade, and her partner Tom, in 2012 when we first talked about the idea of opening a cafe together. We were in the middle of a long, uncomfortable bus trip when we began dreaming, and since then it has been our dream.
After coming home from a trip in 2014 we were inspired to start our instagram page as a stepping stone for our brand, and this is where @panaceas_pantry was born, though we never imagined it would present us with so many opportunities. Since starting our IG page around 10 months there has been so many highs, we've joined such a supportive community, one with which our brand and following has steadily developed- starting off making recipes for ourselves and learning about food photography. From there, companies started approaching us to work with them and promote their brands, and most recently we've started to supply local cafes with raw, vegan cakes.
We've had so many milestones already, largely including working with Loving Earth, along with having several recipes published in both online and printed magazines, publishing 58 recipes for an app, being approached by several companies to design menus, selling cakes to cafes, reaching over 40k followers.... We're so excited to see what's to come in the future!
What do you love about living in Melbourne? Are there any restaurants, cafes, stores you visit for inspiration?
Kathie; Melbourne has just been voted the worlds most liveable city for the 5th consecutive year, and I'm not surprised one bit. I feel so spoilt living in this beautiful city, it's truly a foodies dream. We draw inspiration from everything, always on the look out for something we could re-make, how that cafe is decorated, different cultures, cuisines & traditions, the list goes on and on.
Melbourne has so much life to it, and the cafes do not disappoint. It's probably a good thing I live so far out from the city as my entire weekly wage would be spent eating out! A few of our favs are - Veggie Bar, Yong Green Food, our local cafe the General Food Store (if your going for a drive in the beautiful Dandenong ranges make sure to stop by, they serve up the best chai you will ever set your lips on), Shokuiku, Touchwood, The Independent (our other country 'local') and Mr. Nice Guy’s Bakeshop, just to name a few.
When did you first become aware of Loving Earth?
Jade; When I studying at the ACNM (Australian Collage of Natural Medicine) it was all the rage! We would walk up to the Queen Victoria Market between lectures, and come back with treats to get us through our never ending lectures (and we finally didn't feel like outcasts eating chocolate through a nutrition lecture! haha). I think the first product I tried was the Coconut Chocolate Butter, and I became so addicted that my only salvation was an overseas trip to the Middle East, where it wasn't available!
What's your favourite way to use our foods?
Jade; We use Loving earth chocolate a lot. It's my favourite after dinner treat, it goes in or on smoothies, or we melt it down to top a raw cake. Superfoods are a daily must for both Kath and I, and we really love to mix it up. At the moment I am loving maqui and blueberry smoothies, and adding a spoon of coconut oil to home-made turmeric milk.