In our next instalment of In Conversation With... we call upon the masterful Ellie Bouhadana. Rising to dizzying fame in the past few years, Ellie’s transformation is a story of dedication, inspiration, and family connection. When she boils it all down, we understand that food is everything to Ellie. A passion that has led her to head up the kitchen at Melbourne favourite, Hope St Radio Kitchen. We chat food, phobias, childhood and of course, style.
What was your route into cooking and how did you get into Hope Street Radio?
I spent a lot of my childhood watching my mum and safta (grandmother in Hebrew) weave about the kitchen, cooking Jewish holiday feasts for our family. I soaked up these moments, watching how each dish slowly came together. This was my earliest route into cooking. Later I began cooking in a couple of restaurants, learning from other chefs in professional kitchens, while also cooking for people at my own pop-up dinners and creating lockdown pasta packages. This led to meeting Jack and Pete who were opening Hope St Radio and were looking for someone to lead the kitchen.
What drives your creativity?
Taking walks through fresh produce, seafood stalls and delis gets me thinking about and envisioning new dishes and creative projects. I also love talking with people about their food upbringing and nostalgic family dishes, this really drives me creatively.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Eating and food in general has always been important to me. At a certain point after studying at university I knew that food was the world I wanted to be in most, I don’t know if I had a certain career I wanted to work in when I was younger. At one point I wanted to be a carpenter like my dad! I have always hoped to be able to find creative projects to work on that would make me feel full.
“At one point I wanted to be a carpenter like my dad! I have always hoped to be able to find creative projects to work on that would make me feel full.“
One thing you can’t live without?
My eye mask-I can’t fall asleep without it.
I am currently reading Sunbathing by Isobel Beech and it is very good. My favourite book is The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher.
Julie and Julia.
Where’s your favourite place in the world?
My front porch
Do you have any phobias?
I used toreally hate mayonnaise, the texture and smell would turn me off! It was almost a phobia...but not really. Now Ilike making mayonnaise from scratch and eating it with fish and seafood.
What do you need more time for?
What’s your idea of happiness?
Waking up early (naturally without an alarm), the sun is out, and I walk to get a coffee with Rapha (my partner). I drink my cappuccino, and the sun on my face. The rest of the day is spent at home, cooking and then friends come over for dinner by the grill in our driveway.
“I used to really hate mayonnaise, the texture and smell would turn me off! It was almost a phobia...”
Do you have a morning ritual that helps you start your day?
I have been recently enjoying Pilates or a run to start my day, then I sit in the sun for a while and drink coffee at one of my local coffee shops. Often, yoghurt and muesli will follow or fried eggs that Rapha will make for us with vegetables, rye and tahini.
What’s one meal from your childhood that you can’t live without?
Lamb cutlets, marinated in cumin, paprika and olive oil. As lamb cutlets can be on the more expensive side, they were an occasional meal that I would always look forward to as a child. We would eat them off the bone with a tangy salad on the side. It is still one of my favourite things to eat today.
Do you have a favourite ingredient?
Garlic and salt!
What is on your Lucy Folk Wishlist?
Also, the new Mantra Pant in Caramel is stunning! Recently I’ve been living in my LF x Fella Swim River Full Piece in white these days- I wear it by the beach (it is super supportive) but it also looks cute worn out to dinner with jeans and wedge heels
Photographer: Lucia Bell Epstein
Styling: Thalea Michos-Vellis
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