Taste a MasterChef’s food on the Northern Rivers
YOU now have the chance to taste culinary delights from a MasterChef's kitchen, with the opening of Mindy Wood's new restaurant at Byron Bay.
Karkalla opened last week and Ms Woods said the response from the public has been incredible.
Ms Woods' mum, a Bundjalung woman, grew up in Lismore and many of her family members still call the region home - which was handy as they helped set up the new space.
Ms Woods said she was relishing the opportunity to indulge her passion for food and her desire to paint Indigenous culture in a positive light.
She said the menu at the restaurant integrated native ingredients that people were loving.
You'll find native spice, saltbush, and local seafood graces the plates
"The food is full of flavour and simple - it's the simple things that often work well."
Ms Woods said her stint on MasterChef "feels like a lifetime ago", but credits the cooking show with helping her to realise she could make cooking more than just a passion.
She was a physiotherapist before signing up for the program in 2012, and Ms Woods said she has spent the past eight years working in all areas of the food industry to help make a career from her love of cooking.
"I have done everything I could," she said. "From the back to front of house, to running a restaurant group.
She said the food we eat was "such an important part of our cultural fabric, and I want to be a part of that."
She said while some may call her a "crazy woman" for opening a business during a pandemic, she says it opened an opportunity for her to open a restaurant in Byron Bay that she may not have had otherwise.
"Fortune favours the brave," she said. "I saw it as an opportunity to get into a marketplace - I wouldn't be able to afford to move into Byron Bay before."
With an all day brunch on the menu, you can find dishes such as wild hibiscus cured ocean trout, pippy chowder, and Karkalla curry, all with local ingredients and native spices.
One to look out for, Ms Woods said, is their Bottomless Rose Brunch.
Ms Woods said they didn't want to start out "too big" and have opened Wednesday - Sunday, from 8am-4pm, but she has plans to open for dinner by the end of the month.
Find Karkalla at 8 Fletcher Street, Byron Bay, NSW.