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Natalia West

Teacher

Natalia West is a passionate foodie, creating feasts from her garden in Ewingsdale. She likes to grow unusual food plants from all around the world and save the seed. Natalia likes to cook authentic peasant cuisine from all round the world, with a particular of fondness for simple Japanese food, especially Japanese ferments.

I grew up on a permaculture farm in northern New South Wales and have a background as an environmental scientist including having worked in the music industry.

I was an idealistic vegan for nine years, before I embarked on raising four amazing children. I think going vegetarian young made me a great cook.

Now I aspire to live as a peasant. I butcher my own drakes and roosters, choosing to eat ethically omnivorous. I am an avid gardener producing most of our vegetables from our farm to our table.

I believe eating local is the best way to live a sustainable lifestyle.

I have always hungered for olives, pickled onions and gherkins, as a child these were my favourite foods When I was vegan I made vast quantities of fermented nut cheese,marinated tofu and preserved vegetables. We lived without electricity, so this was important to enhance keeping time and nutritional content.

My first visit to Japan totally tantalised my taste buds. I was a glutton for all the wonderful preserved vegetables. I was intrigued by the paradox of simple food with complex flavours. In the six years since my first trip to Japan, I have endeavoured to ferment the bounty from my garden in the Japanese style.

I love the bubbling enthusiasm that people who ferment catch. I love that we are preserving these traditions, that have limped out of the modernised era of pasteurisation and over consumption of sugar. I love traveling with just my taste buds, recreating moments with my friends in far away places and hopefully sharing these moments with new friends.

I guess I just love real food