Raised on a conservative diet of meat and three vegetables, Lisa Flowers had no idea how to cook and tried smoked salmon for the first time at the age of 26.
But tonight (Monday, April 24), the Georgetown mother-of-three makes her television debut on, of all things, a cooking show.
The talented, self-taught home cook will appear as a contestant on SBS series The Chefs’ Line and friends and family are gathering at The Beaches Hotel in Merewether at 6pm to cheer her on.
“I saw the promo for the show when I was cooking tea one night. I was about to turn 60 and I thought ‘Bugger it, I’m going to do something different’,” she said. “In my naivety, some may call it stupidity, I didn’t think it was a competition. I was at least three decades older than the other contestants, too.”
An overseas holiday in her mid-20s opened her eyes, and her palate, to a new world of cooking and Mrs Flowers was determined to broaden her culinary horizons. She started buying magazines and reading the recipes. From there, it was “trial and experimentation”.
“When I got married at 24 I didn’t know much about cooking at all, really,” she said. “I wanted my daughters to try all sorts of different foods. We never ate the same meal in a month, that was my rule. And now they all have really good palates.
“These days I don’t really follow recipes, I use them as a guide. I make a dish differently each time, too, I don’t like doing the same thing again.”
Apart from preparing all the food for one of her daughter’s weddings, hosting dinners and taking meals to family and friends in times of need, Mrs Flowers has kept a low profile. Until now.
“For me cooking is a gift to share that I love doing for my family, but I must admit I never saw myself as a public person. I couldn’t do that My Kitchen Rules stuff,” she said.
As for the future, writing a book to encourage other home cooks isn’t out of the question.
“I’ve got this book in my head about helping people to step up their cooking. What you need to do is plan ahead, and don’t make things too complicated for yourself.”
On The Chefs’ Line, home cooks challenge professionals and must cook their way up the ranks of the chefs’ line.