Scroll down for Lauren Camilleri's Kynd Banana Pancake recipe
The host of a new SBS cooking series is overwhelmed by the support from her hometown on the South Coast but did said she has had to combat feelings of "imposter syndrome".
Despite opening multiple restaurants, cookbooks and online courses Lauren admits she doesn't have western qualifications as a chef so had to be convinced to be a television host.
"If I had my way, I would love the title 'food storyteller'," she told the Mercury.
"Food is a canvas for storytelling, a medium that creates meaningful memories and experiences.
"Crafting dishes is a labour of love ... and while I may not hold any formal certifications, I recognise that how I do things and my story will resonate with some and hopefully inspire."
Kindness is at the core of everything we do, and we created a concept that attracted people from all over the world, not just for the food but also for the Instagram-worthy experience.- Lauren Camilleri
Lauren returns home every few months, and is grateful for her upbringing in a place that provided a "solid foundation needed to venture out into the wider world".
"I remember a conversation with my father, Anthony Camilleri, during my eleventh year of school. I shared with him my desire to leave formal education [school and university] behind," she recalled.
"My parents ... played a crucial role in supporting my goals and dreams, even when they seemed unconventional."
With Indonesian heritage and regular travels throughout childhood to her mum's homeland, it left a deep impression on Lauren and a yearning to return.
From the South Coast Lauren ventured to Byron Baywhere she "worked tirelessly" to save money for her yearly adventures to Indonesia before she moved permanently.
"There were countless aspects of Bali that resonated with me - the warmth of its people, the pleasant climate, and the sense of freedom in the lifestyle," she said.
"When I turned 18, I made the bold decision to leave Australia behind and pursue a full-time life in Bali."
But to support a lifestyle in paradise she needed to work. After moving to Legian and craving simple pleasures which were hard to find, Lauren and her then-boyfriend opened a sandwich and juice cafe called Swich with the help of her family.
It was a hit and filled a gap in the market, expanding to different locations, but the romantic partnership wasn't to be.
Lauren opted out of Swich and turned to consulting, where she met her now business partner, and University of Wollongong alumni, Corryn Queenan.
They were like "yin and yang", Lauren said, and together "took a leap of faith" and opened their first plant-based cafe Kynd in Seminyak in 2017.
The demand for such an eatery prompted rapid expansion from a 30-seater space to 100, and eventually a second restaurant in Canggu. The popularity also spawned popular cookbooks and online cooking courses.
"At Kynd, our mission is to demonstrate just how delicious plant-based cuisine can be and challenge people's preconceived notions about vegan food ... being boring and bland," Lauren said.
"Kindness is at the core of everything we do, and we created a concept that attracted people from all over the world, not just for the food but also for the Instagram-worthy experience."
Meantime, basing herself in Bali has given her the freedom to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and increased her quality of life, she said.
Since Paradise Kitchen Bali began airing in September, Lauren has been overwhelmed by all the love from Illawarra and South Coasters wishing her well.
"I've been deeply moved by the outpouring of heartfelt messages from friends and family from across the globe and, as well as from the wonderful Gerringong community," she said.
"One thing that I have always loved about Gerringong is its incredible sense of togetherness ... every message means the world to me."
Paradise Kitchen Bali - available to stream on SBS On Demand.
For more on Lauren's restaurants, visit: www.kyndcommunity.com
For the caramel sauce, use a small pot or pan and mix together all ingredients. Heat on medium-high heat, stirring consistently. Once the mixture is bubbling, reduce the heat and simmer for approx. 5 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken. Note: The sauce will thicken most when cooled. You can use the caramel sauce straight away or allow to cool and store in the fridge for around 1 week.
To make pancakes, first melt the butter, then mix together with the flour, milk, baking powder, vanilla extract and sugar in a bowl. If your mixture is too thick, add a little more milk until you get the desired consistency. It shouldn't be too thick or too thin. You want a consistency similar to cream.
Heat your non-stick frypan and use coconut oil or butter to coat your pan. Pour approx. 12 cup of the mixture into the pan and swirl around to get a bigger pancake. Thinly slice a banana long ways and place the banana onto the pancake as it's cooking.
Wait for the bubbles to appear in the pancake and flip it over.
Garnish with strawberries, caramel sauce and shredded coconut. If you are short on time skip the caramel sauce and use maple syrup.
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