Erin was a vital part of the Webster's team for years and her versatility is a testament to adaptability, curiosity, and the boundless potential that life's many detours can offer.
I sat down with Erin, delved into her experiences and discovered common threads that tie her eclectic pursuits together. I even snagged a delicious recipe for dumplings that showcases her skills perfectly.
What I admire about you is just how many things you are good at. You go deep on everything you are into. Can you please give us a rundown of your job history?
Oh wow, thank you.
From the beginning? There have been so many! Side quests aside, I’ve worked as a
chef, caterer, naturopath, photographer, tea blender and …accidental I.T strategist.
Nice. What have you learnt through these experiences?
Ooh good question!
There’s definitely a through-line to the food/nutrition and photography side, I moved into taking photos of food after having been a chef for a number of years. It allowed me to step back from the immersive world of the hospo day to day and appreciate dishes from the other side of the pass, slowly and… when they are no longer warm?
Short answer, adaptability, key skill for sure.
And, you can learn to do pretty much anything if you have the time.
What has been your most interesting work experience to date?
There have been many disasters! But also so many good times.
Once, when catering an outdoor wedding in a marquee, the florist had huge vases filled with orchids suspended in water and there were goldfish in the water… This was a long time ago. There was a massive storm that rolled in and I don’t know, with some combination of wind and air pressure, the vases all exploded. I ran around picking up the goldfish. Thankfully, they survived!
And then, as a photographer I’ve been lucky enough to travel, photograph some of the people I admire the most and often have to remind myself that this isn’t all a wild dream, but the thing I get to do for a living. It’s so surreal.
I’m always picking your foodie brain, so what’s your favourite dish to cook at the moment? Would you mind sharing the recipe please?
I’ve been on a big gyoza (Chinese dumpling) run lately, having finally settled on a gluten free dumpling wrapper recipe (if you’re not gluten free, you can sub the first 5 ingredients for 4 cups standard flour).
In true retired caterer style though, I make big batches of them and freeze them so they’re an even easier weeknight meal. Fill the wrappers with your favourite flavours, then either steam or fry them to your liking. Mix and match a few topping options; chilli crisp, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, coconut cream, kimchi - whatever fits best with the filling you’ve chosen.
Makes enough for ~80 dumplings, I batch them, fill them and freeze them. You can halve this recipe if you’re just making one night’s dinner.
- 1 cup fine white rice flour (asian food store)
- 1 cup standard white rice flour (supermarket)
- 1.5 tbsp Psyllium husk
- 1 cup tapioca starch
- 1/3 cup potato starch
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1.5 tbsp oil
- 1 1/3 cup hot water
Mix drys, add wets and mix until combined.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured bench (use rice flour for this) and knead until uniform and the dough has mostly stopped sticking to your hands ~ roughly 2mins.
Cover and chill the dough for 10mins if your kitchen is warm.
Cut the dough into manageable bits, then roll it out until it’s super thin (2-3mm is both thick enough to handle and doesn’t take away from the flavours of the filling), then cut circles using whatever you have that makes an 8-10cm circle. I use a whisky glass.
Repeat until you’ve rolled and cut all of the dough, or wrap the remainder in glad wrap and freeze it.
Cover both the wrappers and the dough with a damp tea towel during the process to stop them drying out.
Fill each wrapper with a tbsp of your desired filling, wet the edges of the wrapper and pleat them. This video is a great how to.
What tea are you drinking the most of at home?
Before lunch, Lime Ginger. Afternoon - Manuka on repeat.
Lastly, if you could have tea with one person in the world - who would it be and why?
My grandparents (that’s more than one person - sorry), they passed away when I was a kid, but have still influenced my life in so many ways. Grandad was an avid photographer and my memories of Nana are all either in her kitchen or singing to her plants in her greenhouses. They had such brilliant minds, and as an adult I would love to be able to appreciate them.