A passionate Chef turned up for a position in The Jam Pantry’s kitchen. He was all about fermented foods, creating tasty morsels of fun and had a particularly good sense of humour. Needless to say he got the job. Drew McKenzie is a Funky Nanna with an obsession for fermenting. He’s currently playing with mint essence; as you do!
Tell us what it is you do so well. (You’re allowed to be modest).
I’m really very good at fermenting. If I don’t have at least one cupboard that’s producing the stink of some ferment on a daily basis, something is missing from my life.
How did the fire get in your belly? What fed your “Aha” moment?
This is difficult to answer. I think my “aha” moment was caused by a culmination of events shortly before turning 30. We were living in Sydney at the time and my wife and I had completed a 28km walk around the Sydney harbour. Shortly after which I went on to lose 25kg. I began running, I researched running, I researched food and nutrition and this just fuelled my already existing passion for food and in particular traditional food preservation. Our return to Brisbane in late 2014 was a bit of a shock to the system probably causing the mental overload responsible for me starting a small business.
What is that one thing that keeps you awake at night on a juicy creative level?
It’s never one thing that keeps me up at night. If I wake in the night or I can’t get to sleep it’s usually because I have multiple projects I’m far too excited about.
The most out of the box, lateral, no one said it would work thing that you ever did to problem solve or create a concept or product?
I can’t claim to have created sauerkraut, but I think the majority of my family thought it pretty far fetched that people would go out and buy it. Most people I speak to ask how on Earth did I get into making sauerkraut, I can’t help but laugh because it feels a bit absurd to even myself.
What does a typical work day mean for you, besides juggling and no sleep?
Kissing my girls goodbye in the morning and hoping I can achieve something to better our lives.
What is your proudest achievement to date; your “Nanna” moment?
Having others support my claim of a quality product. The immense support and positive response has been very humbling
Which Australians in your particular field are tickling your fancy at the moment? They don’t need to be known, just inspiring.
Rohan Anderson (wholelarderlove.com), And one non Aussie Jamie Oliver. Really anyone willing to stand up and admit, our lifestyles and the current food systems need changing.
Where can we find you?
Discussing pickles in the kitchen and stocking the shelves of The Jam Pantry
I’m also on the shelves at Plenty and the sandwiches of The Single Guys with my Red Cabbage and Beetroot Sauerkraut and my Lemon and Dill Sauerkraut.
Here’s to a magical crock of fermented foods.