Story & photo Melissa Butters
Brother and sister, Robert and Michelle Constanzo, are the chefs behind the fresh flavours of The Nomadic Kitchen. Their delicious rustic dishes are influenced by their Sicilian heritage and their travels. ‘We basically just cook what we ate growing up. It’s the kind of food that we love,’ says Michelle.
Michelle was selling apples from the family farm in Stanthorpe and Rob had just returned from overseas, where he worked at River Cafe in London, when they first considered setting up a business. ‘We just wanted to start our own restaurant.’ The stall evolved from there, and they’re passionate about what they do. You’ll often find Rob racing around the markets for supplies mid-service – you can’t get fresher than that!
Rob and Michelle create good, honest, simple food on their terms. ‘We cook whatever we feel like cooking – it helps keep it creative for us,’ says Rob. The menu changes every week, inspired by what’s in season. They enjoy engaging with the community. ‘We walk around to see what’s good, or what farmers might have lots of… it’s ideal, we get to relate with the customer and the farmer,’ says Rob.
When asked about any challenges, Michelle points at Rob; ‘We’re siblings! We just roll with the punches – overall it’s really good. It just gives us a nice lifestyle and it suits our ideals, about what we like to cook, and how we like to live.’
When Rob isn’t cooking he enjoys fishing, while Michelle loves getting home to her children and into the garden. But they don’t want people to cotton on to the fact that they’ve clocked the perfect lifestyle. ‘It’s terrible! It’s shit! Write that down!’ says Rob.
You can find The Nomadic Kitchen at the New Brighton and Mullum Farmer’s markets on Tuesdays and Fridays 7am–11am.