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Home cooking a budget saver

Posted: 5am 26 Jul 2022

Preparing home-cooked meals using fresh, local ingredients does not have to break the household budget. Chef Dominique Rizzo says it can be more cost-effective than convenience food.

She’ll join a strong line-up of chefs cooking up a storm at Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival, which is on from August 19-21 at Apex Park, Woody Point.

The event kicks off the Tastes of Moreton Bay Feastival, a six-week celebration of the region’s producers and foodie culture. There are more than 40 events from August 19 to September 25.

Dominique is looking forward to this year’s event and reckons the line-up of celebrity chefs and cooks – Manu Fieldel, Miquel Maestre, Adriano Zumbo, Georgia Barnes, Alastair McLeod, Pearly Sprinkles, Alex Glenn and Luke Camilleri – will draw a crowd.

“These events are a really great way of again bringing people together with producers and I think more than ever with the cost of living going up, we really need to go back to basics of cooking, connecting with producers, using local ingredients, shopping local,” Dominique says.

“An event like this is really important just to emphasise that, as well as creating an incredible space that people can come and just enjoy being free again.

“Given that it was cancelled last year (due to COVID-19), it will renew the vigour in everybody that everything is back on track.”

Simple approach to cooking

“I love using easy techniques that people can sit and watch and go, ‘I could do that’. I want to connect with people in a way that they recognise and understand what I’m doing but also utilising a lot of products that are going to be available,” she explains.

In real terms, this means using a local vinegar, putting strawberries in a salsa and encouraging the audience to buy them from a local farmer or producer.

“I’m a vehicle for connecting the producers through food to people who are coming along to events like this. Fundamentally, it’s about showcasing our local products, showcasing our produce, showcasing our amazing seafood and connecting that bridge,” she says.

She’s hoping she will inspire home cooks to “step outside their comfort zone” by thinking differently about cooking and trying something new.

“Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and I think with the cost of living now all we hear at the moment is rates are going up, food is going up, petrol is going up and I think it will start to really freak people out. I think a lot of people will be sacrificing their food to be able to pay for other things,” she says.

|“People will be looking to convenience and fast food and cheaper options whereas I think cooking from scratch using whole ingredients is a much more economical way of doing it.|

“My philosophy is showing people that eating fresh produce and doing a little bit of preparation, you are going to be able to save money. You’ll save a lot more money than you would reaching for convenience foods.

“Hopefully, they will come away with some really great products that they can add in - beautiful vinegars and spiced rubs and cheeses and freeze-dried strawberries - that can be kept in the pantry that can be added to salads to enhance flavour and bring that little bit of excitement that they’re looking for in their food and bring that to something that’s really simple.

“I feel that’s what our job is. We’re not there for pomp and circumstance. That’s what I see as my role, as a chef coming to these events, is to be this vehicle to showcase how all these amazing products can be used in your everyday cooking to enhance simple produce.”

Be inspired

See Dominique in action at Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival, where she will be presenting two cooking demonstrations a day on all three days, showcasing local produce.

To find out more about Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival and to buy tickets, head to the website

Tastes of Moreton Bay Feastival is delivered by Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism, with the support of key strategic partner, Moreton Bay Regional Council.

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