Everyday Gourmet and former MasterChef winner, Justine Schofield has been hard at work plating up new dishes for The Coffee Club's reinvigorated menu.
Question: What or who originally inspired your passion for food?
Justine Schofield: I grew up in a bilingual household with a French Mum and Aussie Dad, and food has always been at the heart of our home.
Food has always been a passion for me and while I love the laid-back Australian approach to food, I'm equally proud that a nod to my French heritage comes through in my cooking.
Question: How has your food philosophy changed?
Justine Schofield: For me, food is about bringing people together over beautiful, simple meals that everyone can enjoy.
When it comes to sharing meals with family and friends, I don't like to be overly fancy. I embrace the classic dishes that we all know and love, but I like to give each dish a new life by introducing an expected flavour twist.
Question: Can you tell us about your inspiration behind the new The Coffee Club's reinvigorated menu?
Justine Schofield: The Coffee Club shares my philosophy that food doesn't need to be fancy. Food to me is all about creating that best bite. With each bite you want to hit two to three flavour profiles at once – sweet, salty, savoury and or bitter.
Fresh, seasonal ingredients were my inspiration when curating dishes for The Coffee Club's new menu. I wanted the new menu items to appeal to a wide range of people with healthy, homely meals that symbolise togetherness, but it was equally important to me to incorporate a few new, unexpected flavours in to the new menu.
Question: Which of the dishes you created is your breakfast favourite and why?
Justine Schofield: It's hard to pick one favourite, but I'd say my breakfast go-to lately has been the mushroom, spinach and ricotta omelette. It's a hearty meal, but the spinach and ricotta keep it from feeling too heavy.
Question: Why was it important for you to create fresh brunch options?
Justine Schofield: Brunch is one of my favourite meals of the day and when I'm dreaming up new recipes, I always start with fresh, seasonal produce and build out wholesome meals from there.
Question: How can we perfect the poached egg, at home, in our own kitchens?
Justine Schofield: The trick to perfecting the poached egg at home really is in the technique. Use the freshest eggs you can source as it makes poaching eggs much easier, bring your water to the boil and then add a generous splash of white vinegar and turn the heat down to simmer.
Gently crack the eggs individually into a glass and, one at a time slip into the simmering water. Poach for three minutes until just set and then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Season eggs with salt.
Question: Can you share your favourite omelette recipe?
Justine Schofield: Keep things simple when making omelettes at home – incorporate lots of air when you whisk up the eggs and set aside your favourite omelette fillings in advance as it all needs to come together so quickly.
Some of my favourite omelette filings are part of The Coffee Club's new menu including chorizo, tomato and basil, and my all-time favourite – mushroom, spinach & ricotta filling.
Question: What five ingredients could you not live without?
Justine Schofield: Eggs, butter, garlic, fresh herbs, olive oil and…dark chocolate!
Question: What's next for you?
Justine Schofield: Alongside working with The Coffee Club, I've been busy with my newly released cookbook, Simple Every Day.
Interview by Brooke Hunter