Jennifer Beadnell and Narelle West are located in the heart of the Scenic Rim’s food bowl – the Fassifern Valley. So it’s no surprise that their businesses are based on taking raw ingredients and transforming them into something more.
During Eat Local Week, which runs from June 24 to July 1 throughout the Scenic Rim, Jennifer and Narelle will invite the public into the Kalbar commercial kitchen where they cook their products to discuss and demonstrate how they create the produce in their Veitablu Health Sensations and Kent’s Produce ranges.
Eat Local Week will celebrate all aspects of the Scenic Rim food industry, with a focus on local farms, food producers, restaurants and the organisations which play a part in making locally-grown food more accessible in the region.
Jennifer is a professional chef who started Veitablu 10 years ago and recently introduced a range of vegetarian, vegan and special diet meals under her Health Sensations brand. The range includes pies, pastas and other meals which she supplies to caterers, cafes and restaurants and direct to the public.
They complement her popular range of health bars and seasonings.
Narelle launched Kent’s Produce earlier this year. She’s the wife of a vegetable farmer, a keen cook and has long wanted to take the raw ingredients they grow on their farm and turn them into something more.
With Jennifer’s help, she has developed a range of natural, preservative-free, relishes which are ideal accompaniments to meals, vegetables and salads.
The range includes Julienne carrot with tarragon and lemon, Julienne beetroot with garlic and balsamic and Julienne beetroot with pomegranate and preserved lemon. Narelle’s products will be served at the FEAST celebration dinner at Aratula on June 30.
“I’ve been working on it for about two years, it’s about value-adding to our staple products,” says Narelle.
“Beetroot was the first vegetable I focused on, just because so many people don’t know how to cook it. I wanted to provide something interesting that was healthy and retained the nutritional benefits. A lot of cheaper relishes use a lot of fillings, I wanted people to taste food that is high quality and good for them.”
Both women are looking forward to the chance to meet the public and talk about how they produce their products. Jennifer says more and more people are developing allergies to preservatives, colourings and gluten and it make sense for food businesses to create products which respond to this.
“For me it’s fairly simple because it’s what I do,” she says.
“I’m a vegetarian myself and with my chef’s background I developed this range of pies and meals. The bigger challenge was gluten-free. I’ve been working on making a gnocchi with pumpkin and basil sauce that is gluten-free. It’s about thinking a little bit out of the square to produce a range that’s a little bit different. When people go out to a restaurant they don’t want to be offered the same old, same old.
“So many restaurants and cafes don’t have a really good vegetarian selection on their menu. I’m sick of pasta, I wanted something a little bit different.”
Her range includes a Thai Satay pie, a fowl-free chicken, corn and leak pie, a no-bull pepper steak pie, a no-bull mince pie, a gluten-free Hunza Roll and a Basil and fetta roll.
All the meals are sold fresh and are priced from $4.50 to $8.
You can buy Jennifer and Narelle’s products online and from some local retailers.
During Eat Local Week, visit Jennifer and Narelle on Tuesday June 26 from 11am to 2pm. Entry is $5 and includes a tasting plate of their products. Find them at Unit 3/3 Welge St, Kalbar.