2 minutes with Shannon Martinez
Restaurant: Smith & Daughters
You have been cooking for the past 20 years, who were your mentors in the kitchen?
The thing is, I was kind of thrown into running kitchens way before I should have been. So I never really worked under anyone for a serious amount of time, and I have definitely never been lucky enough to have a mentor. I guess the closest thing I've ever had to a mentor is my grandmother and my cookbook collection. Can I just say, I do not recommend this.
Your cookbook, Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (That happens to be Vegan), was released last year and is a bestseller. How do you feel about that?
The response to the book has totally blown me away. I knew that it was going to be quite popular locally because it's home to our businesses and we have the most incredibly supportive customers, but the interstate and international response took me by surprise. To think that a vegan cookbook by two women in Melbourne, Australia can find itself sitting alongside top-selling cookbook authors in Barnes & Noble and even getting translated into Dutch is much more than I ever expected.
What was the biggest challenge you found in writing the cookbook?
Actually having to properly measure out everything. I never do that! Also, it wasn't until after we finished shooting the book that I found out that most chefs have assistants to help them cook all the food for the photo shoots. So having to cook and shoot all the food in six days was a challenge, to say the least!
Is there a second book in the pipeline?
There sure is!! A Deli book is already underway. It's in its early stages though. Due for release late next year.
I love this quote of yours, 'The next big things, the people shaping tastes...they will be women", the words resonate well with our Fully Booked community. What's your words of wisdom to young women in the industry?
I know that sometimes in the kitchen, it can feel like maybe life would be easier if you were 'one of the boys', but don't change who you are as a person in order to be respected or taken seriously. Be yourself, demand respect and don't let the job make you hard. Kitchens are changing, for the better, and women are the ones that are making that happen.
Sunday lunch at your house, what's on the menu?
Disgusting amounts of cheese and charcuterie to start. Spaghetti bolognese, garlic bread, greens and all the wine. Simple pleasures.
You can follow Shannon on Instagram @shannon_martinez