Homesick and appalled by what Australians think of
American food, Honey Child was forged.
Toni Rands, Chef and Owner of Honey
Child’s Creole Catering, is a West Coast All-American gal. Her dad’s job with
the United Nations meant she lived lots of places but calls Las Vegas her home
in the States. Her grandmas hale from Texas and Louisiana. Think Creole and Texican,
and you’re off to a good start.
Married in 2008 to Tasmanian, Nicholas,
she found her way to Hobart via Sydney which was not a place for a big open
heart like Toni’s.
I did not enjoy. It was dirty and the
people weren’t very friendly and I’m ‘Hi y’all!’ friendly and sociable. And I’m
officially an adult because bad manners just make me angry. There’s some great
things going on in Sydney but I lived in great big ol’ Las Vegas and had a
wonderful job and a wonderful life. If I was going to come across the world I
wanted squeaky clean pristine and there’s nothing better than here, it’s like
clean, it’s pure, it’s green and the fruits and vegetables are amazing.
Cooking is in her DNA and it holds a
crucial place in her family’s history.
We’ve been through our ancestry and the
short version is throughout the late 1600s to the current day, all the women in
my family have been prolific cooks or artisans of some way. We earned our
freedom through great cooking my great grandmother told us at every family
Her Mother would make these certain
dishes and sell them on the street and she got enough coins to buy her papers
and that gave her her freedom which led her to buy property.
We’ve always had a really strong
matriarchal thing in our family and all our success is due to the hard work of
women. It’s either been because of nursing, cooking, we had a couple of hat
makers, and the like, we’re just that kind of people.
The story behind her food is rich in her
heritage and her values. The table she has shared with the generations of women
who came before her was laden with high sacred dishes. Here’s a taste:
Gumbo, a rich stew of seafood, meat and
vegetables from Louisiana, is always served for a big celebration during the
A plate of greens at New Year’s represents
folding money. Think prosperity, wealth, fortune, and independence.
White cake which represents the sweet
blessings of God, hold them in your mouth and recognise the good things that
have come to you.
Black-eyed peas are always on the New
Years table too, so you can see your way through the year and make good
And something full of fat and decadence,
to carry you through the year represented the richness of the earth.
The Two Girls met Honey Child at MONA
Markets, see our post here.
Inspired, we discovered the Snug Markets
where you’ll find Toni cooking the last Sunday of the month.
This was last week’s lunch menu:
Black Bean “Notchos” and Burritos was the
very popular Vegan option.
Shoyu Chicken – Toni describes it as a
bit like sweet and sour chicken with teriyaki, done the skinny way, roasted not
I find that if you want to have a real
full meal experience you always have to have dessert and if you have a
fat-assed and heavy meal you don’t want to eat dessert!
Lemongrass, five spice and ginger slow
cooked steak. Sliced thinned this beef is slow cooked for about 11 hours and
then warmed it in a aromatic gravy. It was served over a saffron and cilantro
rice and it comes with a Chinese Hawaiian cucumber salad and daikon radish and
She tells us that since MONA the pickles
have taken off like Halley’s Comet but they were a ritual before they were an
I only made the carrot pickles because at
our first market I wanted to honour both my grandmothers and we had a very
creole sandwich and a Mexican mole sauce and we looked at it and I thought it
needed something and I knew my granny Ivy would love something spicy. She was
the Mexican/Native American/Black Gramma from Texas.
And for dessert there was a Nectarine and
Berry Cobbler with whipped cream and a Banana Pudding Cup.
Toni laughs about her banana puddings,
for her it’s the essence of simplicity and family.
It’s like ‘the’ dessert. You can’t have
family gatherings without banana puddings. It’s a very simple dessert that
tastes damn good. I only started cooking it out here because I was home sick. I
missed my family. It was like Memorial Day the last day we had the Markets on
so I made it. It’s like a pared down trifle. It’s layers of eggy vanilla
custard, bananas and shortbread with whipped cream on top. But you let it sit
overnight so the shortbread breaks down, so it’s like a velvety Tiramisu type situation.
Snug Markets was Toni’s entrée into
professional cooking in Australia. She figured winning over the less
adventurous eaters would be the sign she was on the right track. She certainly
has a loyal following of locals and Honey Child looks to be the success story
of these markets.
If you want to check out Honey Child know
The Tony and pop up partner, Meegan aka
Sweet MacQueen partnership are heading north for a weekly Supper Club which
will start in early May at the Bagdad Community Hall.
You can also find them at the boutique
Flourish Markets, at the Newtown Scout Hall on Main Road quarterly. The 2014
dates are 2 March, 1 June, 7 September and 7 December.
Honey Child and Sweet MacQueen
exclusively cater for Pay It Forward TAS fundraisers.
They cater parties, meals, and events and
they’re also leasing a food van for the winter months so keep your eyes peeled.
And today’s scoop, they’re part of the
MONA Winter Feast line up.
Find out more about Honey Child here and
the collaboration with Sweet MacQueen here.