Resident Gastronomer has to the best job in the world!

By Kate Walsh


Meet Jacqui from Sydney Living Museums.  As Sydney Living Museums’ resident gastronomer, Jacqui’s taken a hands-on role to investigate the type of food that was served in their twelve historic houses – from the dreaded ‘hominy’ served to convicts at Hyde Park Barracks to the feasts found on the finer tables of Sydney’s elite. Jacqui is a curious cook, unafraid to experiment with recipes and ingredients that have somehow dropped from our repertoire or become lost in time. She's been helping with all the collaborative events with Sydney Living Museums and Real Food, teaching us where our food has come from. (Being total food nerds, Real Food is a little bit in love with her. She knows everything!)

Mince pies or Christmas Puddings?

DEFINITELY BOTH! Mince pies with festive cups of tea throughout December, Pudding on Christmas day served with Mrs Beeton’s very indulgent butter & brandy sauce – this usually doubles as supper after the long leisurely Christmas lunch. Fruit mince ice-cream, or Christmas cassata

What makes the perfect Christmas dinner – Could you give us your top tips?

Proseco with a slice of white peach on arrival.The table set for the whole family, usually 15 of us including nieces & nephews, good quality Christmas crackers.On Christmas day ‘dinner’ usually means lunch leading into the very late afternoon. Everyone contributes to the meal – this takes the pressure of the host and we all love to share. I look forward all year to my brother-in-law’s webber-smoked trout. A meringue with berries and cream ‘stack’ and a moulded fruit mince Christmas cassata for dessert. Plenty of time between courses to hang out with the littler kids and see them play with their new toys and read their new books. Time after main courses for a walk to the local park before returning for pudding at dusk.

Favourite moment in the last week? 
Decorating the Eat your history exhibition with Christmas cheer.

What Christmas pressie will you be buying from the market and for whom?

Each year we have a ‘lane party’ with our neighbours over the Christmas break, so PEACH BRAGGOT from Young Henry’s to mix with sparkling wine as a grown-ups Bellini. If we don’t open it for Christmas it’ll go down a treat on New Year’s Eve! (or perhaps I’ll buy two bottles?). 

As one half of The Cook & The Curator blog you can find Jaqcui at many SLM events, dinners and exhibitions. Visit their blog for more:


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