Karina Shepherd runs a small business in Gerringong that sources local organic produce for visitors staying in airbnbs and luxury accommodation.
With the arrival of COVID-19 Mrs Shepherd adapted her wholefood catering operation and the changes are set to continue when tourism returns.
Dandelion & Mallow has also made a name for itself providing educational workshops. It regularly brings other like-minded wholefood chefs and cooks to the region to give local foodies and visitors a broad range of cooking experiences.
When visitors stopped coming to the region Mrs Shepherd shifted towards grazing boxes instead of leading platters for guests at their accommodation.
She also launched a new eBook called 'Creating a Wholefood Kitchen to help locals and visitors who want to remove processed foods from their life and increase their skills and knowledge in the kitchen.
"People kept asking me when I was going to run face-to-face workshops again. I always wanted to put out an eBook so this provided me with the opportunity to do that," Mrs Shepherd said.
"Cooking is a fantastic skill that everyone can have in their life. People have been really thanking me for it. It makes me feel good to help".
Mrs Shepherd grew up in Dapto and spent a decade working in HR at the Port Kembla and Whyalla steelworks. She decided to make a career change when she had children and since moving to Gerringong has worked at Buena Vista Farm and a wedding caterer at Berry.
Her interest in organic food started when the family decided they would change the way they eat at home. She saw the health benefits of that and food became her passion.
"I started growing vegetables and I knew I wanted to do something with food as a career. I just didn't know what," she said.
"I had a university degree and years of experience in business and wanted to do my own thing. I found a niche in the market with Dandelion & Mallow and it just took off, I have built a good relationship with many venues by offering them what I liken to a concierge food service".
Even when people book accommodation a day prior to their arrival she still manages to prepare a platter/grazing box onsite so it is waiting for them. That is just one part of the business. Prior to lockdown the bulk of Mrs Shepherd's work was using the full commercial kitchen she had built at home to prepare intimate dinners for up to 25 people.
They are usually for small weddings and birthdays.And now after a quiet two months during lockdown Mrs Shepherd started getting an influx of calls this week from people saying "I am having a dinner now restrictions have been lifted and are you available?"
Read more: Let everyone know you're Back in Business
Next week Mrs Shepherd has one couple who were going to be married in Sydney when the lockdown hit but are now coming to Berry for a small ceremony with 10 people.
"I get a lot of people who come down from Sydney with family and friends to rent out a property for a weekend and ask me to prepare a dinner," she said.
"When I started the business I wanted to feed people the way we feed ourselves at home with local organic produce".
Mrs Shepherd thinks COVID-19 will result in more people placing a greater emphasis on health and wellbeing and thinks that will be good for her business.
"People who come down from Sydney are willing to pay money for really good food," she said.
Mrs Shepherd has a dozen casual staff. The full dinner service includes styling and table service.
For each of the last two years Dandelion & Mallow has been accredited with an internationally recognised Slow Food 'Snail of Approval' Award.
- Whales to stage a timely arrival as visitors are set to return to the South Coast from June 1
- Innovative farm and agritourism business cultivates huge following on Facebook
- Finally some good news for local wine lovers in 2020 with more of the highly sought after Rosé Frizzante produced at Coolangatta Estate than ever before
- New Times Tables app developed at iAccelerate uses animation to educate and make mathematics easy
- The Wollongong Eisteddfod may have been cancelled but that doesn't mean one can't be held online this weekend
Our COVID-19 news articles relating to public health and safety are free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.