I have two mottos …. 

“Sometimes strangers may come to my table but only friends leave”  and  “I am a feeder – I create eaters”

For years I’ve travelled around Australia with my family. Over the years this allowed me to try different cuisines, produce and ingredients around this amazing country. The travel was my teacher, and I was the willing student. I loved watching the various cooking shows and in my free time studied my little collection of cookbooks. To this day I am still learning new techniques and tastes.

Presently I am living in Darwin with my husband Tim and 4 little fur kids. I am enjoying the wonderful life of experiencing the Northern Territory to the fullest. There is nothing better than getting on our boat exploring the rivers or ocean, always with the hope of catching some delectable delights. My other joy is getting out to the beautiful and breathtaking National Parks and camping grounds which we have here in the Northern Territory. Here is a little secret – I love getting back to the basics of the bush and love the chance to get a campfire going and cooking “camp oven style”.

When my daughters visit from interstate, there is nothing I love better than treating them to some of “Mum’s cooking”. And with having the two girls and my son in law visiting the arguments soon start on who is the favourite because Mum is cooking a certain dish. Here is how it goes –

If I am cooking any variety of risotto or desserts Katherine is seen as the favourite;

If I am cooking any kind of homemade pasta dish or the traditional Beef Roast with Yorkshire pudding, Hayleigh is seen as the favourite;

of course if I am cooking Quiche or Oyster Kilpatrick it is Bradley who is the favourite.

If only they knew I cook these dishes to let them know they are all in my heart. Having the girls in the kitchen with me (most of the time they’re only there to sit on the bench or to do sneaky taste testing), these are the memories I create and they are the times I treasure and look forward to.

Believe me there are times I don’t want to be in the kitchen, but that is very rare. When I have friends or family visiting, I’ve always found an excuse or reason to venture into the kitchen to ‘whip something together’. I find pure joy and satisfaction making people happy in the best way I know how. My dining room table has to be my favourite place in the house, as there has been many a night that I have had family and friends sit there. The dirty dishes may have been stacked in the sink and belts may have been loosened but the conversations and laughter flows freely and I am grateful for the opportunity to have another created another night filled with joy and memories.

When it comes to Rachael’s Cooks Night Off, it was just a little dream that I thought I could do as a hobby. My husband Tim said that he should not be the only one eating the dishes I created and cooked. So for friends only I used to go to their homes and let them have the night off cooking. Then last year I took a gigantic chance and stepped into the world of “Food Entertainment”. I had watched the Australian production of MasterChef for many seasons and saw that they were launching the auditions for the 2014 series. A little voice thought – ‘just see what the application needs’.

And the rest is history.

So Rachael’s Cooks Night Off was launched.

Now I am allowing many hosts “To be a guest at their own dinner party” and sharing my favourite recipes for all to cook for your family and friends, experiment with and hopefully make your own.

Find out more about Cook’s Night Off on our Catering page.