‘and, as a universal language crossing cultures and ages, speaks to us of who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going.’
Ronit from Open Table is one of those special Byron Shire people who’s always wonderful to run in to. Whether I’ve met her unexpectedly when she’s been catering locally, or at Gold Coast events, or when Ronit catered for a hundred guests at our wedding, I’ve been struck by her wonderful blend of practicality, energy and warmth, a blend of different cultures that she expresses through her unique cuisine.
She was born in Israel to parents with Moroccan heritage, and spent many years living and growing vegetables in India, Asia and South America.
Used to growing her own food and farming the land in the foothills of the Himalayas and Brazil, she arrived in the Shire in 1997 at a time before farmers markets were common, but with a love of growing and making her own healthy food. She was inspired to launch a catering business and, with her husband Rick, built her house in Myocum with its own separate kitchen, large vege gardens and decks that she now uses for hosting her workshops.
‘The choices we make about what we eat affect our health, our environment, our families and communities,’ says Ronit.
‘I have a family of ingenious cooks: a nutritionist zealot and chef-extraordinaire mother, and a father who introduced me to meatballs and stuffed sardines when I could barely reach the table. Much of my upbringing was in the kitchen around simmering pots and pans, baking trays and delicious aromas.
‘I grew up in a large family where the focus was lavish food and joyful feasting. I had no choice but to acquire a keen awareness of food during my childhood years. I lusted for the culinary treasures that lay on my travelling path for years, hijacked friends’ kitchens to try my hand at anything and thus began my journey.
‘My mother instilled in me both curiosity and respect for rituals, traditions, cultural diversity, and the use of local seasonal produce. My passion for food as celebration, entertainment and bringing people together is the result of my Moroccan Israeli heritage and my love of travelling around the globe for many years gaining a wealth of experience in Mediterranean, Moorish, Middle Eastern, North African, Indian Ayurvedic and whole-food cuisine,’ says Ronit.
This coming March 18 dive into the heart of Open Table catering kitchen, when Ronit will be offering variety of workshops for all lovers of food from vegetarian to flexitarian and what’s in between! Travel on a gypsy journey of the senses and gain inspiration from dishes from all over the world creating an authentic banquet.
From the basics of spice selection and combination and the fundamental condiments essential to each type of cooking, to substantial key pieces for the table, the workshops explore a delicious array of food using locally grown, unprocessed and mostly organic produce.
Workshop participants will create a selection of dishes for daily use and also for special occasions, concluding daily with a feast from the glorious banquet table.
There will be four workshops in March, followed in April by a series of weekly evening baking sessions.