This month in our Family Album series, we’re getting to know a new addition to the Mount Zero Olive team.
Mel Collier came on board two months ago and is responsible for managing Key Accounts.
To join the Mount Zero team a bona fide, hands-on, passion for food is required and Mel’s background is no different.
Mel cites a favourite childhood memory as accompanying her mum to the markets, and there, the butchers were her favourite stall. So interested was she in the range of meats, the cheeky banter and general joie de vivre that a seed to apprentice as a butcher was sown; to be realised later in life.
Thank you Mel for sharing your background with us today and providing us with a delicious sweet recipe to make at home. What do you know, this butcher can bake!
Q & A with Mel Collier
Welcome to the team. What did you do prior to joining Mount Zero?
I’ve been in the hospitality industry for just over 10 years now. I started as a kitchen hand, became a chef and more recently a trained as a butcher.
I’ve spent the last two years at one of Melbourne’s best butchers where quality and provenance were paramount. We had great relationships with our farmers and knew how the animals were being handled and what they were being fed across the year.
Quality and provenance are two things that I’m passionate about so when it was time for a change, it was easy to move into the Mount Zero team where these values are shared.
What is your favourite thing about the work you do?
Mount Zero really feels like one big family; everyone just wants to help out and lift each other up to better themselves and Mount Zero as a whole.
My role is varied, I travel to different areas of the state as well as the city and suburbs. While my title is account management, there is so much more to it than just sales. I have the opportunity to really get to know the produce, the businesses and the farming communities we work with. It’s brilliant.
What’s the most heard feedback from your customers?
It’s been great coming into Mount Zero and to find that not only the MZ team are passionate about the product but the customers are passionate and proud of the brand as well.
What would you be doing, if you weren’t in the food business?
I honestly couldn’t imagine not working in the food business… I have wondered what it would be like to be furniture design or a tailor at times.
What has been a career highlight of yours to date?
When I was a second-year apprentice butcher when I was asked to represent Victoria in an international competition in Perth. I was the only one who hadn’t competed before and I smashed them out of the park! It was a great day!
Do you have any industry tips or secrets you'd like to share?
I’m a big believer in the motto “earn it while you earn it”. Jump into the industry that you have a passion for and work, work, work. Start as an apprentice if you need to, you learn so much on the job!
What is your favourite Mount Zero product and why?
I’m in love with them all! The agrumato oils, the salt and the chickpea flour are some of my current staples.
As you well know we are forever building and adding to our Foodie’s bucket list – what would you add to a list?
My partner and I got engaged last year and were generously gifted a dinner at the Michelin starred restaurant Le Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower. The private elevator takes you up to the 2nd floor of the Eiffel tower and the view of Paris at night is unbelievable. Do it if you can!
Also, San Sebastian has to be one of my favourite cities in the world. Go to the old town and make your way around all the little bars and drink the local sparkling white wine called Txakoli or their cider.
What’s a favourite “foodie” moment from art or film?
My first ever cookbook, when I was a kid, was Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes. It was based around characters and food from his novels. Bruce Bogtrotter’s chocolate cake from Matilda, Lickable wallpaper from Willy Wonka and the list goes on. I loved it!
I also enjoyed the 2014 film Chef, about a chef who quits his restaurant job and buys a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, starring Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr and Scarlett Johansson.
What recipe have you picked to share this month and why?
I've made a cake! I created a mandarin EVVO & chocolate cake (gluten and dairy free) Being an ex-butcher, I suspected everyone expected me to create a savoury, meat-based dish so I thought I’d surprise them all! My fiancé is gluten-free and we’re forever trying to come up with new recipes, especially desserts. Plus, post photo shoot I thought the team would love some cake for morning tea.
That they will Mel! Thank you.