Interviewed on Thursday the 21st of April 2016
Yenny comes from a small town called Bandung 3 hours from the capital of Jakarta in Indonesia. She came to Australia in 2007 for love. Her Husband is Chinese Indonesian and was living in Australia when they met. They married in Sydney. She brings with her a huge smile and big warm and gentle eyes. If she was a vegetable she would be a sweet potato because “it’s sweet like me when I smile” she says laughing.
The best thing about living in Australia for Yenny is the fresh non polluted air, friendly people and the help and support you can get from the government. Like access to health services, free courses, and training opportunities. But sometimes migrating is hard “because we are coming from different culture from overseas. It’s easy to have misunderstanding through communication and also the way they behave. We need to know the culture. For example in Australia when saying hello they kiss the cheek which in some countries is not allowed.”
Yenny’s mum owned a small shop in the town where she grew up, something like a milk bar, where Yenny would sell her mother’s breads, cakes and dumplings. “My first business” she laughs. She still uses all the recipes her mum gave her, and explains “this was her way of teaching and educating her children”, through the food she cooked.
When asked what she misses most about Indonesia, she says “the food!” Bandung had many specialties and people would travel all the way from Jakarta just to eat. It is a mountain region with cafes and waterfalls and beautiful scenery. There, they often cook with Spanish mackerel fish, which will be turned into crackers, fried fish balls, and dim sims. Yenny explains, “every region they have special food, they have different taste and different speciality”.
Yenny chose to participate in the CERES Food Producer Incubator Program because, “for a long time I have desired to create my own food but no one has helped me. I need someone in food business to give me mentoring and skills. I feel I can find this on the course.”
Her dream is to have a permanent long term job and have her own business selling things in the market. If she could create a food business it would be a supplier of “mass produce” to sell in the shops or cafes. “I have many ideas; I need more skills and knowledge to take action”. Policy and regulation in Australia is also a barrier to her as she does not know how it works but would like to learn this in the CERES course.
When asked what she has learnt so far she exclaims, “Ahh, I learnt lots of things. Last week our teacher Natasha, taught us how to make food from the scratch using organic vegetables from the garden based on recipes. Natasha helps us make organic vegetarian healthy food. But the taste, really nice. And I learnt how to use the commercial kitchen and learn about essential skills in hospitality training. Natasha taught us about food sustainability, seasonal food, local food production in Australia, something before I have never known.” Yenny says that this knowledge has now changed the way she decides on what to cook today, choosing seasonal vegetables because “they taste so much better and are always at a better price.” She loves to cook and eat healthily and this is part of what draws her to her passion in food. She has control of what she eats and of course, it is cheaper.