Frankie Cox, chef and owner of salad bar Green-On in Richmond, has built her business with longevity and sustainability in mind.
“Sustainability isn’t just about the environment,” she says, “It’s about healthy lifestyles, sustaining ourselves and promoting these values within our industry. It’s economic, personal and environmental.”
Frankie’s business looks at impact on many levels; she and her team work Monday to Friday, daytimes only, sourcing local, seasonal produce to provide healthy, nourishing breakfasts and lunches. Their impact is thoughtful, minimal in terms of the environment but big on being smart about packaging, working hours and changing perceptions with delicious food.
It’s strongly aligned with how we operate at Mount Zero and we are thrilled that Frankie is our Mount Zero Hero this month.
But it wasn’t always as consciously balanced a life as it is now for Frankie. She worked as a chef in New York for five and a half years, working 80-100 hours a week in her last year and she suffered burn out.
“I lost my passion for what I was doing as I couldn’t see the purpose,” she says, “I knew I wanted to make an impact and create change and food is such a great platform to do that on. I wanted something accessible and approachable to offer greater change and impact to a wider audience. I kept coming back to idea of a salad bar.”
The diversity of Green-On’s location and Frankie’s experience and network as a chef means that she taps into varied produce each season, encouraging her customers to build their own salad bowls and embrace what it in season and when, “Some people ask where the tomato is, but it’s out of season, so now we are working with ingredients like silverbeet and potatoes,” she says.
Some staples on the menu are legumes, pulses and good olive oil, and that's where Mount Zero comes in.
“I immediately went to Mount Zero when I starting setting up,” she says.
Frankie first discovered Mount Zero at Abbotsford Convent Farmers Markets: “I worked for Movida Bakery at the markets, around 2012 and Richard [Seymour, our GM] ran the Mount Zero stand there and I learned lots about the produce,” she says.
One of the reasons she’s shared this warming recipe with us is that, “It’s got loads of Mount Zero products in it,” she laughs, “and it’s just right for this time of year.”
The soup of spiced chickpeas, carrot, lentil and spinach is finished with a dollop of dill yoghurt and is accessible and approachable, just as Frankie intended.
It’s this intention we admire and respect and seems to be mutual.
“The proof is in the pudding with Mount Zero products,” says Frankie, “with the flavour and the purity and dedication to their ingredients.”
Thanks Frankie, we can’t wait to make the soup!
the fast five
1. If you weren't a chef, what would you be doing?
A permaculture facilitator
2. Last place you dined out?
3. What's your favourite Melbourne restaurant?
4. Favourite season of the year for produce?
5. Do you have any special projects scheduled for 2022 or beyond?
We are starting to plan Green-On number 2!
By Hilary McNevin