My Last Week

My Last Week

It’s very hard to believe that my Australian adventure is coming to a close. 15 weeks seemed like such a long time when I first got here, but as I wrap up my last few days, I find myself wanting more and more time.

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During my last week in the restaurant, the entire menu changed, so I got to learn a whole new set of dishes before I left. And on Sunday, my last day in the kitchen, we had a tasting for the FOH and kitchen staff in order to try all of the new dishes. I’ve been working on the pastry section for the past few weeks, something that I eagerly enjoyed as last day 15I know I will not learn much of this at the CIA, and it was pretty cool to see all of the progress I made in these last few plated desserts. Also, check out how far my rocher skills have come!

For one pre-dessert, there is poached quince and mallow root parfait with malt loaf crumb and blue cheese.
The other is simply presented as rhubarb: a hisbiscus jelly enveloped in rhubarb sorbet and garnished with rhubarb meringue and freeze-dried rhubarb. I didn’t capture a picture of it, but I called it Barbie’s dream house dessert. So. Much. Pink.

Chocolate & Beetroot: Sugarbeet custard, beetroot mousse dipped in beetroot jelly (we called them blood clots), lemon balm syrup, beetroot sherbet, chocolate sorbet, and lemon balm leaf.

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Roses and Violets: Violet cream, rosewater jelly, violet dust, rosehip sorbet, rosewater baba sponge, and candied rose petals.

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Pumpkin: Poached pumpkin, spiced pumpkin espuma, cream cheese gel, pumpkin seed brittle, pain perdu, and smokey maple ice cream.

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Orange Marmalade Cake: A cake with mandarin marmalade, freeze-dried mandarin, and seabuckthorn sorbet.

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Here I am plating my FINAL desserts at the Royal Mail Hotel.

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We also took some time on my last night for some team photos.

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And here is the perfect description of life on the pastry section:

It was hard to say goodbye to the kitchen, but I didn’t have to say goodbye to the staff yet, because a bunch of us had booked a house in Port Fairy for my last weekend! We left right after work and spent our time relaxing, watching surfers on the beach, and chatting with the locals. We invited so many people to our dinner on Monday night, and met some while we were out too! Random things happened too, like Mt. Eckles/Stimpy: the orange tabby kitten that hung out with us for about 16 hours/almost came home with us, and Ellie trying to pet a wallaby (they can actually be quite vicious).

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On Tuesday, we passed through Portland on to Cape Bridgewater, a quaint town with some of the highest cliffs in Victoria. Right on the edge where the waves crash into the cliffs is a petrified forest. Incredible views. There’s a certain level of calm mixed with immense terror as you watch such powerful, beautiful waves crash into the rocks a few hundred meters below you…

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The next day, everyone went back to work, and I marveled at the fact of having absolutely zero plans. So I went and climbed a mountain. There are 3 mountains that make up the backdrop of Dunkeld and mark the beginning of the Grampians: Mt. Sturgeon, Picanniny, and Mt. Abrupt. I had climbed all but the tallest, Mt. Abrupt, so I made sure I didn’t leave Dunkeld before I got to its summit. It is also the farthest away, and seeing as I don’t have a car, I walked about an hour and 15 minutes, just to get to the base….but the view was worth it.

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last day 18Thursday was packing, and Friday I began my journey home by traveling to Melbourne. One of the first garden tours I ever did, I met the lovely Jenni, a Melbourne native who offered me a spare room if I ever was in the city and needed a place to stay. So I e-mailed her about my end travels, and fortunately she was available!
It’s been an absolutely incredible experience to get to work and learn in Australia, and I am immensely grateful for this opportunity. I’m still processing all that I learned, and I’m sure I will write a post on that later. But for now, I guess I will see many of y’all very soon.

With Love,

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Al Goes on Holiday

Al Goes on Holiday

A few days ago, I was given the generous opportunity to take a small holiday and enjoy Melbourne, all on my own, and I jumped at that chance! I’d been to Melbourne before, and I’ve traveled alone, but this was my first holiday by myself. It was awesome! A little lonely at times, but still pretty cool to wander around such a cool place on my own terms.

Even though I was going to be on holiday by myself, I got to travel to the city with my roommate, Paula, as she had to catch her flight to leave. So luckily, I was able to start my journey with someone. The first big adventure of the day happened before the trip really even began…we missed the bus. I was fine, but seeing as Paula had a flight to catch, she went into panic mode. So we got our next door neighbor to drive us and literaly catch up with the bus. Success!

As soon as we got to Melbourne, I got to meet Paula’s friend Paul. We checked me into my hotel, dropped our bags, and headed to Chinatown for some ramen.

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Melbourne is known for it’s Asian cuisine, so I took full advantage for the majority of my trip. And since I’ve gotten back to work I just really want some dumplings.


Then we said goodbye to Paul because he had a plane to catch, and I got to lead our adventures for the rest of the day! I immediately asked to head to Brunswick and go thrifting. So that’s we we did. We also stumbled across some awesome vintage stores.

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Then we took a tram over to Fitzroy and went to a rooftop bar called Naked for Satan. Weird name, great view of the city. And for dinner: $5 tacos from next door. Always a good way to go.

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It was then time to head back to the hotel and say goodbye to Paula. You’ve been a good roommate! Bye! And then I was all alone, with every opportunity in the world at my fingertips! So I went out and just walked around a bit, people watching on a Saturday night. I was so excited to have the same weekend as the majority of the world! There were actually people everywhere! But at 11 o’clock at night, I was surprisingly more skeptical about everything by myself. So I turned in early, because I had somewhere to be the next morning…

One of the things that I’ve desperately missed most, is having free Sundays. They have come to be my favorite days at the CIA because that means church and the Tatter’s house. But I haven’t been able to go to church ONCE since coming to Australia, so I made sure I got to have at least one Sunday to go. And Australia is the birthplace of the great Hillsong United in Sydney. I couldn’t afford that plane ticket, but lucky for me, they have multiple locations, and one just a few blocks away from where I was staying in the CBD.

They held service in the Athenaeum Theater on Collins street. And it was good. It was so good. We tuned in to the sermon at Sydney, so I got to hear from the lead pastor himself.

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After church, I went to the Queen Victoria’s market. I stumbled upon a street festival so there were a bunch of people to watch and talk to, and some pretty good music. I ended up walking through every stall, talking with some vendors, and eating some good street food. Good music, good food, good people. The weather has definitely gotten colder, but this day was blue skies and sunny. Perfect holiday weather.

I walked around a lot that day, and even got to see this mural!

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A little bit more graffiti has been added to it since its creation, but it was still just as inspirational to see. This year, the World’s Best 50 Restaurants ceremony was held in Melbourne, and this group of chefs all happened to make that list. It’s pretty impressive, but my only complaint is: where are the women? Maybe I can make it on something like this one day…

And just because I needed more of Him, and more of that community, I made it back to Hillsong for another service. And it was completely different than the morning one!

I kept walking around and thrifting for most of the day, but then it started to rain. so I spent my evening indoors at a movie theater near the Uni.

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The next day I explored Fitzroy, a funkier area than Brunswick, with this magical place:Holiday 8

The Lune Lab. A cafe that specializes in croissants. It’s a 3-day process, and you can watch it all happen in “the cube:” the giant glass box in the middle of the room where they do nothing but the most perfect and seamless lamination I’ve ever seen. Holiday 7

Melbourne is also known for their coffee culture, so I headed down the street in the opposite direction of the Lune Lab to Industry Beans coffee. It is a cafe and roastery all in one. So I ate brunch, drank delicious coffee, and watched them roast all at the same time. Holiday 12

I SCORED at the Salvo’s in Fitzroy, and also started to run out of money. So for my last night in Melbourne, I chose to eat a cheaper option. I had heard talk about Hot Fried Chicken, so I went on the hunt and found this place….and was so SO disappointed. I’ll take Cane’s or Chic-fil-a or BABE’S any day of the week. Holiday 10

I knew I couldn’t end my holiday like that, so I kept on eating. I went to Milk the Cow, a cafe with over 400 varieties of CHEESE and some drinks to go with it. much MUCH better. Holiday 11

The next day, I got up early and made it back to Dunkeld by around 2pm. It was a great trip! I also got to say goodbye to Miriam, one of the FOH employees who was heading back to France. I’m now in my LAST week of extern, can you believe it!? And then I will be back in the States on May 13. I will miss this place for sure, but I’m excited to be in TX for a little bit!

With Love,


It’s time for an update

It’s time for an update

Still in Australia, still loving it. But my time from blogging has been taken away from 1) scholarship applications, 2) my externship manual, and 3) trying to explore as much of this country while I can. I have been anticipating my next post for a while, as I received some new stress about my financial situation for school, however I am choosing not to write my worries explicitly with that because I believe in a God who is capable of overcoming any financial burden. AND I’ve been spending more time around Dunkeld the past few weeks, because I am saving up money for a small holiday in Melbourne near the very end of my externship, so I didn’t feel like I had enough for a full post. However, I spent a little of that this past weekend by jumping at the chance to make a quick getaway to Melbourne with friends, see the nightlife, and drive back along the Great Ocean Road. So here’s to the past few weeks in Australia:

One weekend grocery trip turned into spelunking (i.e. cave exploring) a couple caves in a nearby national park.


We also drove a little farther in search of koalas. We were promised hundreds, but were lucky enough to find just two! dreaming5And another cave. dreaming4dreaming6

At work, we had a few weddings, and I am still working on the pastry section, with a few new desserts. I also work a breakfast shift about once a week. You come in between 5 and 6am, set up and then after you finish service and prep, you get to go home for a night off. You also get to lead the kitchen garden tour which has allowed me to meet a few pretty awesome guests!

I made black pudding for the first time, which is cooked pig’s blood sausage with some raisins and oats and pig fat all mixed in. The first time I made it, it went so smoothly that I barely got a drop of blood on me. Pictured below is that great moment. I also just recently made it again and the piping machine had an air pocket….so the blood exploded…all. over. me. It looked like a murder scene, and was a pretty sad ending to my work shift. But on the upside, how cool is the CHEESE cake that we had at a wedding!?!? Some of you are familiar with my love of cheese, so this is a dream idea for me.

There are quite a few of my favorite people still left in Oklahoma, and I’ve been missing them a lot recently. So this postcard from my friend Bryan came just at the right time. Thanks again b-ryan.

This was one of the entrees from the wedding: wallaby tartare with egg yolk gel, cucumelons, pickled beetroots, crispy rice, and watercress.


And now onto my weekend in Melbourne! A couple people from work had planned a trip and booked an airBnB in the CBD, and they just happened to have an extra seat in the car, so I got to go! We went with a native Melbourne-ite, so we got to experience the back alley bars and rooftops and delicious restaurants that the city is known for.

Our first stop after dropping off the bags was Section 8. A cash bar down an alley-way with a garage-type feel. Good drinks, good company.


We had time before our dinner reservations to go to Rooftop, a bar 8 flights up from the city where we got a pretty good 360 view of Melbourne and a jug of sangria.


At this point, we were starving, and it was time to eat! We went to CHINCHIN, an asian fusion restaurant with the wonderful “feed me” option. You pay a flat fee, and they just keep sending a bunch of share plates to the table and you eat until you’re full, and then they end with dessert. We seemed to get a taste of the whole menu, so it was the perfect option: kingfish sashimi, corn fritters, barbecued salmon, beef short ribs, the most incredible braised greens with chilis and pork belly, butter chicken, and house-rolled egg noodles.

It was all so. so. good. And after that we walked a few streets over, down an alleyway, to a wooden door. And behind that door was a speakeasy called Eau de Vie, that specialized in cocktails and whiskey. I got the cuzco blush.


Our night ended with the second feast of the night at China Bar. The best things were the China tea for $1 and these soup dumplings.


The next day we grabbed brunch at Higher Ground, and I had a life-changing hotcake with just about every beautiful flower, grain, and berry under the sun on it.

We then drove back along the Great Ocean Road. It’s this big long road in Victoria that you can drive along the coast for hours and hours. A big tourist attraction, but definitely something you HAVE to do before you leave, so I’m glad I got to see it! We made a few stops along the way due to traffic, and a few other pitstops for coffees and just staring at that ocean view.


The Twelve Apostles is another tourist attraction along the Great Ocean Road, and we made it right at sunset. Beautiful. I’d never seen waves so powerful! It was mesmerizing. dreaming31dreaming12

And our last meal before heading back up to Dunkeld was fish and chips on the beach.dreaming10

How’s that for an update? I’m still eating very well here in Australia if you can’t tell. I’ll miss it when I’m home for sure.

With Love,


ALERT: Wild Lyons in Australia!

ALERT: Wild Lyons in Australia!

GUESS WHO CAME TO VISIT ME DOWN UNDER! This past weekend, I enjoyed some time with my two biggest supporters, and now two world travelers: my parents!! They arrived in Melbourne on a Tuesday, explored parts of Australia even I haven’t seen, and then drove along the Great Ocean Road on Sunday to meet me at the Royal Mail! I keep using exclamation marks because I am just so excited that they got to visit! Not going to lie, I had been homesick (a new experience for me) for about two weeks prior to their visit, but I think that’s because I knew I would have a little piece of home coming to Dunkeld very shortly.

lyons 30After I got off work, I showed them around the kitchen garden and the Myers garden before we headed to dinner.

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Table 25. VIPs for the night. The head chef had let me arrange the menu, but I’m pretty sure that went to the wayside about halfway through our meal. All in all we had 14 courses. Just about everything on the menu was sent to our table. And we ate every. single. bite. To begin our meal, we received champagne and “snacks.”

French breakfast radish dipped in salad cream and rolled in bacon dust, tomatoes from the garden with lovage and teff, a shot of “rocket fuel,” the Royal Mail hot dog with chicken parfait, duck prosciutto with chili gel and a bagel with eel cream and shaved abalone.

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Next was the first amuse: watercress soup with yuzu gel, saigo, and crispy rice. It was followed closely with the second amuse: periwinkle snails, gazpacho sponge, cucumelons, and cucumber essence. My parents hadn’t tried snails before, but they thought this was delicious!

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We moved on to one of my favorite dishes, the beef tartare. It just amazes me how even though it is served raw, the coal oil reminds you of the char from the grill, just as if it were cooked! It is served with nasturtion puree, pickled green tomatoes, and pickle gel.

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The lamb neck was next. It is served with yoghurt gel, lamb heart agnalotti, burnt onion compote, compressed figs, and caramelized yoghurt.

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At this point we were pretty stuffed, but I assured them, we hadn’t event made it to the mains yet…next was the John Dory. A whitefish with zucchini puree, fried potatoes, and a fried zucchini blossom stuffed with tomato sauce and squid.

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This was followed by the squab. The breast is fried in puffed amaranth, with cooked amaranth served alongside it with wilted greens and pequillo pepper gel.

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Next was the goat with beetroot puree, beetroot, wilted greens, and dehydrated goat cheese crumbled in leek ash. On top are japanese pepper leaves, and a few drops of pepper oil.

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The highlight of the mains was the veal dish. It is normally on the a la carte menu, but they adapted a smaller portion for our degustation menu. It is sous vide veal rump with cabbage puree, cabbage that’s been pressed in butter, salt-baked kohlrabi, kohlrabi air, sunflower seeds, dehydrated bacon, and sunflower petals. Then drops of black garlic oil were put on top tableside.

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At this point, all three of us were positive we were moving on to dessert…but then they dropped a few more steak knives at our table, and then they brought out the beef. With chard puree, pickled plums, and a stout reduction. We were stuffed, but that didn’t stop us from eating all of it.

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AND THEN, dessert, finally. Our “pre-dessert” was hazelnut cream with diced nashi pears and nashi sorbet, followed by a sour grape trifle with lemon verbena jelly, grape custard, vanilla sponges, tonic sorbet, grape gel, and candied grapes.

The last dish of the evening was one of my favorite desserts. I’m very proud of being able to create every component of this dish, and being one of the first ones to plate it. Buttermilk panna cotta, tarragon water, plum gel, dehydrated plums, anise hyssop sorbet, plum sorbet, plum meringue, and plum sherbet.

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And just when you think you’re done, they dump over your flower pot, which is full of chocolate soil and petit fours: a shortbread cookie sandwich with violet cream cheese, tomato friand, chili chocolate fudge, and beetroot jelly. They let me have the honor of dumping over a second pot too, so we got double! Not that we could even eat anything else.

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Our beverages  for the night included a pinot noir that somehow lasted for the majority of the meal, the champagne at the beginning, and a sweet pinot gris with dessert. The owner of the Royal Mail had just recently decided to buy the winery from wnich the pinot noir came from…not just the wine, but the whole winery.

And that was just the first night.

The next morning I got to eat breakfast with them at the hotel and then we headed out to South Australia (my first time going out of state!) to Mount Gambier. The weather was rainy all morning, but seemed to clear up just as we arrived at the Blue Lake. It’s just as you would imagine it…a blue lake. Except it was extra blue.

lyons 18So after about five minutes we went searching for the next destination and settled on the Engelbrecht Caves where we met Dave —> lyons 38and learned about cave diving. Apparently for the level 3 dives that make up these caves, you have to take a psysch test before you’re allowed in the water…I guess not everyone is meant for squeezing through rock formations in dark cold water. After we left Mount Gambier, we continued toward the coast to Port MacDonnell. It was pretty deserted for a windy Monday afternoon, so we drove on Port Fairy, a place I had wanted to visit, and made it to the beach. It was far too cold to swim, as Australia is entering Autumn and beach weather is far behind us, but I still wanted to feel my toes in the sand just the same.

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lyons 36We headed back to Dunkeld after searching for food in Port Fairy, but everything was closed. AND, we had a taco party to go to!!! A couple of people from work were getting together for a festival, and I asked to bring my parents along. So we showed up with my mom’s fabulous black bean salsa and joined the party! Ate tacos, drank margs, and ate agave worms.

And Jon and Brenda enjoyed meeting everyone I’ve been working with. Also, saw a huntsman…and apparently this is still a small one.

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On Tuesday, we went into the Grampians, past Hall’s Gap to the Boroka Lookout, Reid’s Lookout and the balconies. My friend Ellie tagged along with us. At the first lookout, My dad could barely breathe as Ellie climbed past the railing to sit on the very edge of a cliff, but by the end of the day, we got them climbing over the rails as well.

lyons 37lyons 29We got REALLY far out there at Reid’s lookout. There were no Chilian guys with a guitar this time though.

lyons 32And then we went to Mackenzie Falls! It was probably the highlight of the trip. There was a short walk to these massive falls, and then a trail that followed for a few Ks along the water. lyons 25lyons 24We then drove to Horsham, the next town outside of the Grampians in search of food, but the restaurants in Australia are only open for lunch OR dinner, with this lull in the mid afternoon from like 3pm to 5pm where the only things you can find are quiche and sandwiches from a display case. We walked around to the point of HANGRY and then just settled on something to eat.

We made it back to Dunkeld as the sun was going out, and I found a good spot for my parents to see some roo’s. We saw a whole field of them out by the homestead, where I showed them that garden and our orchards as well.

We also have a woolshed that is still used for shearing sheep, so we got a peek into that process as well! Lots of sheep. Lots of wool. We got a second dinner at Cafe 109, and then parted ways.

Wednesday morning was a bountiful trip to the grocery store, and then a goodbye. I will see them again in just 45 days! I can’t believe my time here is going so by, but I’m so glad that I got my parents got to visit while I was here. This was the biggest trip they’ve ever done! Sadly, Nicole didn’t get to come, but that just means I’ll have to come back and bring her with me!

In addition to this post since I missed last week, here are a few more snapshots from the last week. I went to two wineries, one with a huge underground cellar with bottles of champagne over a hundred years old. I also went foraging for plants along the shore of Killarney Beach with friends, and worked a wedding at the woolshed!

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Cheers to good fun and good company.

With Love,


The Pastry Section

The Pastry Section

After a near disastrous, very stressful last week in the pastry section, the executive chef and I took over the section this week, and basically hit the do-over button. I learned how to make ice creams, sorbets, ganache, gels, meringue, marshmallows, jellies, caramels, and now I’m getting so close to getting to work on the bread. I’ve also gained some rocher skills…20I’m still working on perfecting them, but not too bad for my first few times! For those of you that are not a part of the culinary world, a “rocher” is a one-handed quenelle. Basically, a fancy and professional way to shape ice creams, custards, etc. into the torpedo shape pictured in the photo on the left. For CIA, the culinary kids get tournes, and the baking and pastry kiddos get rochers. And now I have experience in both!

By the end of the week, I was rochering my heart out, and running the section alone for the majority of both lunch and dinner service…From being yelled at for not making butter fast enough and cutting bread the wrong direction, to making my first rocher and running the section a week later, you could say I have made some improvements! I also was under MUCH better leadership…

Here are a few more snapshots of all of the gels and ice creams that make up this section, and our new dessert! I happened to make every component of this dish, so I’m quite proud of it. Buttermilk panna cotta, tarragon water, plum sorbet, anise hyssop sorbet, dehydrated plums, plum sherbet, and French meringues.


Later on, the anise hyssop sorbet will be turned into snow, but we are waiting on the liquid nitrogen to come in (!!). Nbd. Also, that one time I made creme caramel on egg day in Fundies, came in handy, because I got to make it for staff meal this week! I’m becoming quite the caramel queen.



As mentioned in my last post, I’m a big fan of climbing mountains, and this weekend was no different! I went to Hall’s Gap with some co-workers and we went to two different lookouts plus a waterfall. Both had guardrails to establish the end of the trail, but both also had excellent rocks to climb past that railing that led to a better view. So you best believe we climbed on over to sit and take in the landscape!


When we weren’t busy climbing rocks and getting closer and closer to the edge, we were cooking. Monday night was okonomiyaki, a Japanese egg pancake, served with fresh strawberry lemonade, and salad with lemon-garlic vinaigrette.

3 And on Tuesday, we introduced an Aussie to a true American classic: the Sloppy Joe. But don’t worry, I made it gourmet by baking the bread we used as the buns.


With Love and an extra dose of boldness,



My Mountaintop Perspective

My Mountaintop Perspective

I have come to realize my fascination with mountains. Not just seeing them, but climbing them. And if you’ve known me in the past 5+ years, you would know this fact quite well. And everywhere I’ve lived in the past few years, I seek out those mountains to climb.

When you start climbing a mountain, oftentimes you start in the middle of the woods, surrounded by trees. But slowly, with each step, your view gets better and better. And as you near the top, you can see even more than you could five minutes ago.

But it’s that feeling you get once you reach the peak that I crave the most. If you’ve ever climbed a mountain, big or small, you know exactly what I’m talking about. That moment when you reach the pinnacle, and you’re completely stunned into silence. Your mind can’t even comprehend all that it is capable of seeing at one time, so it just goes blank. And in this moment, there’s so much peace. So much clarity. So much shock at how the world seems to stretch on forever in every direction. And for me, I think there is no better way to feel the power of God’s presence.

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It is like God allows you to catch a glimpse of His perspective, and for a moment, everything is perfect and 100% calm. Exactly as how He made the world to be. I think He put mountains on this earth just so that we can see for ourselves just how much beauty He is capable of of creating. He is a true artist.

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And since coming to Australia, I’ve craved those mountaintop experiences more and more. I didn’t realize how much I was taking for granted the community of believers that was constantly surrounding me, and even the opportunity to go to church on a regular basis. Working a 75-hour week, working weekends, not having a car, and not having any kind of Christian subject around me, is different, and has caused me to grow in different areas of my faith. And yes, it is lonely, but I have never felt less alone, that I do when I am completely by myself on top of a mountain. Which sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.

This week was difficult. And I say that with a very sad heart. I was on the pastry section this week, and yes it was difficult because I have little experience with pastry, but the biggest issue was communication. Some problems with the chef in this section that have been slowly building finally exploded. That chef no longer works at the Royal Mail, nor does her partner. And while it is not necessarily because of me or my work in the section, I do feel partly responsible for not being able to offer her as much help as she needed to prepare the section for service. Communication HAS to happen in a kitchen, regardless of if English is your first language or not. And in this situation, it was not there.

So on Tuesday morning, I had to climb something. I needed my mind to stop going over and over the difficulties of this week. And since I had yet to climb Mt. Sturgeon, I got up before the dawn, and made my way to its base. I saw a few people on the path. Each one was alone and I wondered what they had felt when they reached the top. It’s a pretty vertical climb, but as soon as you reach the tree line, you can see so much. With each step my mind was being put at ease.

On this trail, there are paths that seem to veer off to the left, but if you follow them without being careful, you could end up going over a cliff. That mixed with wind is a pretty deadly concoction. But I kept climbing. The first hump has an incredible view, and the second peak looks so far away. But not 20 minutes later, you reach the end of the path, with a big red dot telling you the trail has ended. And as I looked up, and my mind went utterly blank. All I heard was the wind whistling in my ears as I took in the view of I had of everything. My house, the hotel, the kitchen garden, the entire town of Dunkeld. I saw the rest of the Grampians in the distance, I saw clouds rolling over the top of Mt. Abrupt, and I saw the early morning sun reflecting on every single body of water for what seemed like a hundred miles. In this moment, I felt the clarity start to overcome my mind. And the peace to overcome my heart. What happened is not my fault, and it is not my responsibility to dwell on it or try and fix it. I am here to learn and to do my job to the best of my ability.

The point is, I want to be a good leader first and foremost, and an excellent chef second. That is my goal. And part of being a good leader is being able to handle every situation. And I do not think I handled this one well. I felt like I let the section down because the section failed to complete its tasks for service. And because of it, not one but two chefs quit. And it happened while I was on that section. It may have been coming to a head for a while, but I was there when it erupted, and for that, I feel awful.

So Tuesday morning, I climbed Mount Sturgeon. I needed clarity to rid this week from my mind, and to share with all of you, the importance of a good climb.

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With Love,



Beach Weather

Beach Weather

Two beaches in two days. What a time to be alive! The combination of Texas-level heat and payday meant that I jumped at the chance to go to Melbourne on my last two days off and explore some more. And more importantly, GO TO THE BEACH!

img_4961Monday we spent the afternoon at Brighton Beach, the beach that is iconic in Australia for the little huts right next to the water.

img_4857The millionaires that own the houses in the neighborhood directly behind the beach rent the huts to store their fancy beach furniture in and whatnot. Some are painted fun colors, and some have pictures on them as well. All hand-painted.

It was a lovely beach. And it felt sooooo gooood and relaxing to spend the afternoon there. We had sushi for dinner and then headed back to the CBD. That evening was a little less than thrilling because apparently everything in Melbourne is closed on Mondays… And we didn’t know where to look for the places that were open. Ellie and I spent our evening eating snacks from Woolworth’s (grocery store) by the Yarra River while Paula went to a movie at the casino.

img_4881The next day we went to Queen Victoria’s Market. It is a large outdoor market with groceries (organic and non) and a bunch of other fun trinkets, gifts, and clothes. The Australian mango is like no other mango I’ve ever tasted before. SO. JUICY. And while the grocery store sells them for up to $4/each, there was a stall at the Market selling them for $1!! Also, Australian plums are a revelation for your taste buds, which may be because we pick them straight from the tree for the restaurant, but still, $1/KILO of plums is a steal. And lastly, I have now become obsessed with fresh passionfruit. They’re a very strange shriveled brown thing with this awesome gelatinous yellow goo inside with black seeds. Super fresh, super sweet. img_4960Especially on top of my greek yoghurt. Australians understand fruit, y’all. There is also an indoor area that sells fresh seafood and meat as well as charcuterie, coffee, tea, spices; anything you can think of!

After the market, we dropped our bags of goodies off at the hotel, and went to St. Kilda beach. There is a popular carnival, but it happened to be closed for the season by the time we got there.

img_4907 And when we headed to the boardwalk, we were greeted with free water and ice cream. Penguins also roam at the end of this beach, but sadly they had disappeared. I guess it was too hot for them as well.




Our ride back to Dunkeld was delayed more than expected, so after taking a train to Ballarat, we spent Tuesday evening at a rooftop bar drinking pimms and becoming friends with the table next to us after they finished their discussion about Trump, and heard our accents. It is still strange to me that I’m the one with the accent.


Anyways, this week, I am on the pastry section, and the Bugatti club is stopping by to dine with us for two nights. It certainly is never boring here.

Be Bold,