Allyse Wafer is a food stylist, a writer and marketer. She combines these passions by creating bespoke productions and events, documented on her website Wafer.
New Zealand born, Allyse grew up amongst a family of devout foodies who enjoyed cooking and eating together and meticulously planned out each meal of the day.
Today her parents own and run an organic Feijoa farm on the North Island, while her brother - a trained chef – helps manage a local vineyard.
Her parent’s farming business has greatly impacted her approach to food, and Allyse has developed a deep respect for food producers from stints working on the orchard – and more than ever champions cooking what is in season.
Arriving in Melbourne to study, almost a decade ago, Allyse has made it home – inspired by the local food and arts scene and the work of local legends such as Stephanie Alexander and her contemporaries, including Julia Ostro.
“There are many people here in Melbourne who are doing great things and following their creative passion – I am inspired by them and enjoy supporting them as often as I can. Julia and I studied at the same university. I’ve enjoyed watching her profile grow. I am really impressed by her approach and her work.”
Q&A with Allyse Wafer
You mentioned you attended a Grow Assembly event recently, what food experiences would you recommend trying in Melbourne?
Yes, I recently went to their 2017 event which focused on sustainability – encompassing mental, physical, emotional, financial or environmental. It was a great a day of talks, training and interaction with leaders from the hospitality industry - totally inspiring.
There are so many great restaurants meals to be had in Melbourne, a favourite local of mine is Neighbourhood Wine – it’s a very cosy place to spend (a lot of!) time, catching up with friends.
But something else, something I think is really special, is to experience a hands-on cooking class at Free to Feed, a pop-up cooking school that provides meaningful employment to asylum seekers and refugees. Not only is the food incredible, the stories of the chefs are incredibly humbling and inspiring.
What was the last meal you had out in Melbourne?
My last planned and booked dinner date was at Kirk’s Wine Bar – which was superb. But literally, the last meal I ate out was at Soi38, a fantastic Thai noodle bar tucked deep away in a Wilson car park in the CBD. Well worth the city traffic!
What is your favourite menu item right now?
I find it hard to select a single dish, as it’s quite rare for me to make the exact same thing twice! I’m more of an intuitive cook and have a tendency to deviate from recipes. I love making salads as they’re great way to feed the masses and I always seem to come up with new flavour combinations with whatever is on hand and in season.
If you weren’t carving out a career in food what would you be doing?
I’d like to think I’d make a good gardener. Something to aspire to in later life!
What is one word you’d use to describe Mount Zero Olives…
There are a few staples I always keep on hand for salads - grains, quality extra virgin olive oil, good salt and lemons. I choose Mount Zero Olives as I know the products are fresh, produced in a sustainable way and are of optimum quality. And did I mention delicious?
I worked the floor in hospitality for many years, and used to love those times in-between service where you could glean recommendations and tips from brilliant chefs, you know those types whose passion for food is infectious! In fact, it was on one such occasion I was introduced to Mount Zero olive oil!
Do you have any special projects schedule for 2017 or beyond?
I have a few projects up my sleeve this year with the help of very some talented friends – I just shot a short “food” film and I am excited to see that come together.
Check out Allyse's "salad for the masses" and other delights in our recipe gallery.