Meet Dominique Rizzo our December Featured Friend and one of Queensland’s leading female chefs who creates purely delicious, healthy and real food recipes that inspire people to make a change for the better while still loving their food.
As a Chef, Author and Presenter Dominique’s aim is to inspire people to cook with fresh, seasonal and local produce. Through her innovative recipes and a healthy attitude her mission is to improve general wellbeing, build confidence in the kitchen, inspire creative cooking and bring vitality onto peoples plates.
Dominique’s life and work centres around her philosophy;
“Through the sharing of food we share life and one is never lonely or hungry.”
Embracing 20 years’ experience as a chef and restaurateur, Dominique is able to share her abundant knowledge around Australia. Through her public speaking, cooking classes, cooking presentations and demonstrations, recipe writing, food styling, radio and Television work Dominique focuses not only on her true passion for Italian and Sicilian food culture but she also incorporates an emphasis on all cuisines celebrating Australia’s amazing melting pot of a multicultural kitchen.
Dominique’s passion for all things purely food, coming together, connecting and sharing has led her into her New venture Putia: Pure Food Kitchen, School and Pantry which opened in October 2014. Located on Brisbane’s north side in the hub of Banyo, an emerging urban hot spot. We are so lucky to have Dominique as our December Featured Friend and we know you will be just as excited as we are!
Dominique, we know your mission is “to improve general wellbeing, build confidence in the kitchen, inspire creative cooking and bring vitality onto peoples plates.” So what would creating ‘A Healthy Mix for Life’ mean to you?
Creating a healthy mix for life means to me a life that is balanced across all areas, in the food department it means to include a wide range of foods where different cooking methods are practiced to achieve a variety of different results. Balance is the key if you are strictly following a certain lifestyle or food culture and aim to include a variety in your life of different ways that you can relax, take care of yourself, nourish and keep your body healthy and strong and also for brain stimulation or calming.
So what does your day on a plate look like and why do you eat the way you do?
Well, I do not necessarily practice what I preach all of the time, ideally my day would include a fresh vegetable juice or berry banana smoothie after finishing Pilates, then a coffee at work, lots of water, lunch of mixed grains and legumes with seasonal leaves and greens and perhaps some organic chicken or fish, a snack of hommus and crackers in the afternoon, and dinner a fresh Asian raw vegetable and kelp noodle salad with a delicious soy, ginger dressing, again with some fish or chicken. In reality I fit in the coffee, the water and a salad and I do my best to eat a vegetarian dinner of lentils or an Indian dahl, most of the time at work and it strange when working in a restaurant you often don’t eat, or eat at strange times so I am always catching up on eating at weird times of the day.
We love that you are so real and honest about that … it’s hard to practice what your preach ALL the time. Especially when you cook for other people for a living. With such a busy lifestyle how do you keep your mind and body healthy?
My work is physical and often I will be standing and walking around up to 16 hours a day, running a restaurant and cheffing also involves a lot of lifting and carrying of tables and chairs, boxes, pots and pans so I am forever keeping strong just with my daily activities. I love Pilates and going for very brisk walks, swimming and lying flat out under a tree.
Who is your health, wellness or fitness guru and why?
I don’t just have one who I follow or live by – taking the “healthy Mix for Life” attitude, I tend to grab a little from here and a little advice from there and I am always researching for new and interesting recipes for vegan, raw food, also recipes for intolerances so I am always coming across really creative and inspiring wellness and health gurus.
If you had to choose ONE Super Hero Food that you could not live without what would it be?
All types of berries as I use them in most of my cooking sweet or savoury and love them in salads, as a snack and topping up my smoothies. The other is the delicious and crunchy kelp noodles, I always have a couple of packets on hand to toss into salads, curries or soups.
If you could share with the Raw Blend Family one piece of your wisdom what would it be?
Make sure that you laugh every day and see the funny side of life even when you don’t feel that anything is funny, be strong in your own skin and don’t compare yourself to anyone else, this can be crippling and stops you from really getting out there and achieving your goals, and aim high, visualize your dreams, write them down and then write down steps you need to do to achieve them… you will discover that step by step you will find you will be living that dream life you always wanted, be proactive and positive in getting to where you want to be.
We are lucky enough to have you share one of your favourite recipes with us, why do you love this recipe?
I love this recipe because it has those wonderful kelp noodles I adore mixed with a delicious collection of interesting mushrooms combined with a fabulous zesty ginger dressing. Rice paper rolls as simple as they are can be just fantastic for a quick snack, an easy entertaining idea and a very cheap and delicious meal. Wrapping the cucumber around the outside just gives these tasty parcels a little finesse and freshness and I teamed these rolls with an orange and tamarind sauce…just yum!
Asian Mushroom and Kelp Noodle Rice Paper Rolls
Serving size: 6 – 8 Adults
Asian Mushroom and Kelp Noodle Ingredients
- 1 tbsp. sunflower or peanut oil
- 600 g mixed mushrooms like shitake, enoki, oyster, button
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups of finely sliced bok choy
- 3 stalks of eshallots
- 1 cup kelp noodles, chopped
- 1 tbsp. tamari sauce
- 1 tbsp. sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- Cracked black pepper
- Rice noodles, soaked
Rice Paper Rolls Ingredients
- 1 cup Thai basil leaves
- ¼ cup crispy eshallots
- Snow pea sprouts
- Rice papers
- 1 Lebanese cucumber
- 1 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
- Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan over a moderate heat and sauté off the mushrooms for 2 – 3 minutes until just softened. Adding a little oil as you go, cook the mushrooms in batches adding in the ginger and garlic to the last batch and cooking it for about 2 minutes. Add this to the remainder of the mushrooms and then stir through the finely sliced bok choy and eschallots while the mushrooms are still hot.
- Add in the noodles and the remainder of the ingredients and stir to combine leaving the mix to cool in the fridge.
- Soak 2 – 3 rice papers in warm to hot water for a couple of minutes until softened, drain and lay them down on a bench. Place two good teaspoons of the filling onto each paper and top with a basil leaf and some of the fried shallots, roll up the rice paper folding in the sides and adding a few snow pea sprouts into the roll as garnish. Continue with the remainder of the filling.
- Using a peeler peel ribbons from one small Lebanese cucumber. Wrap the cucumber around the roll and then garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
To find out more about Dominique Rizzo and follow her cooking journey and be inspired daily follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter you can also head on over to her website and subscribe to be the first to know about our special dining events and new seasonal menus!