I first met Leeandra Norman through our mutual interest of bringing home grown food and cooking skills to kids in remote communities. She turned up as a replacement for another chef I had organised, driving a mere 850km round trip to share her knowledge of cooking healthy meals, using fresh ingredients, with kids in the Gulf. It was a big hit and we did it again a couple of years later with 120 kids travelling from all over the gulf (most travelling a 300km round trip) to learn about growing food and making awesome healthy meals!

Since then I’ve seen Leeandra’s business grow from catering for events to developing her whole food range, her market stall and to getting a gorgeous food van to use at events! Leeandra catered for our wedding as well as various events I’ve organised. Our biggest effort was to collaborate on the Boots for Change project www.facebook.com/farmermeetsthefoodie/posts/329501360783998  A mammoth effort on Leeandra’s part as the brief was for a local produce menu, sounds simple enough but actually involves weeks of planning, phone calls, following leads and talking to lots of producers to find out what’s actually going to be available on the night! Leeandra shared her philosophy of the importance of eating and buying local with the youth organising the dinner, it stems from having lived in a small remote community where the differences made when one chooses to shop locally or not is really felt.

It was at the recovery breakfast following this event that Leeandra mentioned her dream of having her own cafe, and now here we are, less than 12 months later, and she and her husband Scotty have busted their guts and opened today!

They have a gorgeous whole food menu – hot pots, salads, wraps, blackbird coffee and lots of fermented stuff, with a very strong focus on using local produce! Check it out in downtown Atherton (70 Main Street) and take the chance to grab a seat at the communal table, have a yarn with a stranger about the local food menu and the stories behind it!