A MORNING AT JAMFACE (AKA trying to be useful & not “fangirl it” at Poh’s market stall)

Hello friends and welcome new readers! An incredibly hectic 3.5 month trip to Australia and a dysfunctional (and subsequently retired from service) MacBook Pro have led to Miss Marzipan‘s extended period of absence from the blogosphere, but I intend to jump back in the blogging saddle as of… now!

Although my time away was filled with fun, happy little adventures and loads of fabulous food-related exploits (mostly eating… lots), I wanted to share with you one of the most unique opportunities and enjoyable experiences of my time away.

I make no secret of my love of MasterChef Australia. Throughout both my pregnancies and beyond, MasterChef Australia* has been my ultimate “comfort television”** viewing choice. Five seasons of the show have produced inspirational stories and faces and, standing out from amongst them as one of the most creative/talented contestants to emerge from the MasterChef kitchen with an amazing new career in the food world, was professional artist Poh Ling Yeow, who placed runner-up in Season 1. Back in 2010 as we watched MasterChef unfold from our couch in Stockholm (a few months behind Australian television viewing audiences), I was a Poh fan… as was my husband… and, later on, baby L (who danced for the very first time in his high chair to the MasterChef “count-down” music when the series was repeated on Swedish television).

Fast-forward a few years/MasterChef seasons***, and I found myself back in Adelaide at the start of this year with (thanks to a hook-up from my gorgeous brother) an incredible invitation to assist Poh and her team at the opening of their first market stall, Jamface.

 

I was too tired and too rushed on the morning of Jamface‘s fanfare-free opening to be nervous… which is a good thing for sure, as it prevented me from potentially acting like a giggling buffoon upon meeting Poh for the first time. I needn’t have felt intimidated in any case, as Poh is as warm, down-to-earth, engaging and open as she appears to be on television. She apologised for not being able to be very available to me on account of having so much to do before the stall opened, which of course she didn’t have to… I mean, in my mind it was clear who was doing a favour for whom!

Even when stressed by the small, inevitable, inconvenient bumps in the opening day road (many of which Murphy’s Law would have occurring literally minutes before the first customers arrived), Poh’s endearing, self-deprecating sense of humour, ability to creatively problem solve and her fabulous, supportive team gave me the utmost confidence in the Jamface stall’s first day success.

And, of course, it was hugely successful.

How could it not be? With Poh’s drive, passion and arguable Midas Touch, plus a concept like “fun dining, not fine dining”, delicious locally made-with-love edible goodies, gorgeously packaged, charmingly branded and served with a smile direct from an equally charming hand-built stall, Jamface is that baby you know will grow up leading a fortunate, love-filled life!

And perhaps you think I am talking it up a little, in which case you may want to read some other opinions on the Jamface matter…
Such as this review by Slice
… and this Tweet by MasterChef Australia alumnus, lovely Callum Hann, who stopped by that day and kindly spared me a few moments of his time for hellos, pics and so on.

MasterChef Australia alumni, Callum and Poh

MasterChef Australia alumni, Callum and Poh

But I digress. Within minutes of arriving at the stall I was donning a Jamface by Poh handmade apron, bustling around assembling boxes for the pastries, loading Milly Fillies (Poh’s take on delicious little French pastries, vanilla mille feuille) into the cake display cabinet, botching up a spot of piping (ugh!), being handy with some paper towel on the damage-control frontline when it started to rain unexpectedly and watching Poh at work whilst trying to stay out of her way and not be too much of an annoyance to her “official” team (who were a bunch of darlings!).

My energy levels were boosted by the latte that was kindly purchased for me, the “reject” Milly Filly (too overstuffed with crème pâtissière to stand correctly, thanks to my slightly heavy-handed, cupcake frosting-adept self) that I consumed in a most unladylike manner and by the arrivals of the first customers (market-goers are so friendly!).

It was “out there” with the market-goers that I found the place where I could be of most use. Not a hard task, really. The Adelaide Farmers’ Market attracts some serious foodie types… and who doesn’t love free samples of gorgeous, delicious edibles? I rotated the samples I handed out. The rosemary crackers were a hit, as were the pecorino cheese ones… and the sesame… and the plain! It seemed as though every other person who tried one, bought some. It was the same story with the rich-in-fruit jams and the beautifully presented pot-set yogurts. I looked over at the pie warmer to discover the Paris Pasties had sold out in what seemed like minutes of the stall opening. The Milly Fillies were as popular as you would expect an adorably presented, scrumptious, homemade, pastry-filled-with-vanilla-creme concoction to be. And the pizzas. O. M. G! The pizzas were beyond mouth-watering. I was lucky enough to have one for lunch. The fried bases (genius, albeit of the evil variety), the simple combo of a tasty homemade tomato sauce (Poh’s Two Timing Tomato is delectable), a light sprinkling of cheese and fresh basil makes for a genuine taste sensation; classic flavours with a clever Poh twist. Seriously, one of the best pizzas I have ever had. And I love pizza!

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There were people who came specifically to see Poh/her new stall or to be able to try her food for the first time, after years of seeing her cooking on television (on MasterChef , her very own popular cooking show, Poh’s Kitchen, and more). One absolutely delightful girl, who introduced herself as a “foodie”, “bookworm” and the daughter of another market stall holder (at The Cabbage Patch Catering Company), said she’d been waiting in excited anticipation for weeks to meet Poh after hearing she’d be a regular face around the market. Another lovely young lady approached me sheepishly, saying that she was nervous and “fangirling it” just knowing that she now had the opportunity to meet Poh. She explained that while other teens worshipped pop stars, her heroes were all chefs. And Poh was one of her favourites. Later that morning, I handed two awesome guys from Melbourne some samples of Jamface fare and we chatted about the quality of the Adelaide food scene, before one of them looked over at the stall behind me and exclaimed “Oh my God! Is that Poh?!”, before saying that he thought he might burst into tears at the happy prospect of meeting her.

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My little brood came to visit too and I’ll never forget the proud and excited look on little L’s face as he saw me standing there with a ceramic plate balancing samples of jam. He beamed at me as though I was the coolest, most amazing mama on the planet! Both he and baby Cupcake sampled some of the food and stole some of Poh’s attention. Matt from the Jamface team gave L a small, blue, plastic market stall stool for which he’s developed a 3 year-old’s strange and inexplicable love (he tells me “it’s beautiful”) and which, as a result, we had to cart all the way back to Stockholm with us.

Little L checks out the merchandise

Little L checks out the merchandise

My time at the market flew by far too quickly. I had found a rhythm, had worked on my product knowledge/related banter, and had well and truly banished any sense of nervousness (or shame, it seems… I was taste-testing the samples too!). But, with heavy heart and happy tummy, I handed back my apron, thanked Poh and her crew and dashed off to a birthday party, wishing I could teleport myself to Adelaide and, more specifically, to the Farmers’ Market every sunday.

Imagine my surprise when, the day before we left Australia (blub, blub 😥 ), Poh met me for lunch and gave me a signed and dedicated copy of her recipe book, Poh’s Kitchen, and the very same apron I wore on the opening day of Jamface as a memento.

Do I need to mention that I cried? More a sentimental fool than fangirl, I guess! 😉

Thanks for reading! 🙂
❤ MM xx

*In fact, I was watching clips of MasterChef Australia while in active labour, literally a couple of hours before heading to the hospital to give birth to baby Cupcake! If that’s not crazy enough, I was also baking chef/restaurateur/MasterChef judge Gary Mehigan‘s delicious date and lemon scones (from MasterChef MasterClass) at the same time, pausing every couple of minutes to breathe/scream through a contraction, before getting back to baking. My husband wisely left me to my loco baking mission, despite being rather concerned about my physical (and mental) state! Those scones were my last meal before Cupcake entered the world… and they “carbed me up” for the delivery. Now that’s hardcore MCA dedication! They should give me a trophy 😉

**River Cottage and The Great British Bake Off are also up there in my estimation. My prenatal “comfort DVD” watching was comprised of (and completely limited to) Harry Potter, films 1-4. The rest of the Harry Potter films were too dark and menacing for my pregnancy hormones to deal with. Sad, but true.

***At the Unley Gourmet Gala (a completely unrelated event in that was held in January), I was lucky enough to meet another former MasterChef contestant, Season 2’s Marion Grasby. She had just finished a public cooking demo, but was extremely generous with her time. Little L, who was with me, looked up at Marion and said “It’s so nice to meet you.”, to which Marion replied “Oh, it’s so nice to meet you too!”… And she seemed very genuine. Is it just me, or are the contestants on Masterchef Australia waaay warmer than contestants on other reality television shows? Now that I have met three of them in person, I know it’s not merely a case of crafty editing!

and before I go, I’d like to take the opportunity to…

 

… OFFICIALLY INTRODUCE MISS MARZIPAN ON INSTAGRAM!


click here or on the image below to check out what I’ve been up to at home and out and about 🙂 

MissMarzipan_on_Instagram 

50 thoughts on “A MORNING AT JAMFACE (AKA trying to be useful & not “fangirl it” at Poh’s market stall)

  1. So wonderful to have you back! Lookig forward to your reipces and posts! This one had me smiling (also being a Poh fan) Lucky you – how amazing that you got to share in this experience!

    • Thank you so much! x Yes, it was fabulous. I have been living in Europe for 10 years and haven’t **really** been homesick… until now. I guess, as the song goes, I still call Australia home (corny, but true!)

    • Thanks so much Sofia! I ❤ Australia! There were so many happy days we had there (every one,in fact) but this was a truly unique opportunity for me 🙂 All the best! x

  2. Loved reading this, what a great experience, and thrilled you enjoyed my piece on Jamface as well! – its such a gorgeous enterprise isnt it, and Poh is inspiring and welcoming in equal measure. I have to look out for the cookbook – post some updates on your progress through the pages!

    • Hi Jane! Nice to meet you! Loved your review! Also had a chance to check out some of your other posts and I must admit, they made me rather jealous… and homesick 😉 I was incredibly impressed with what was happening in the Adelaide food scene when I returned. It’s been 10 years since I left and things have really changed. Loved it!
      I will be very envious if you go to this but have you seen this?…

      In case that doesn’t work… It’s for Poh’s new book launch for ‘Same Same, But Different’ at Andre’s Cucina!!! I would totally be there if I could. 3 courses, all drinks, signed copy of the book and all hosted by Poh and Andre! April 24. I just saw it online today myself and once again felt sad that I am not still in Adelaide 😦
      Well, even if you can’t go to that, you have Jamface 🙂 and I think it will only get better at the Farmers’ Market! 🙂
      Have posted one pic of a recipe I made from Poh’s Kitchen (the book) on my Instagram account, but haven’t had a chance to get truly stuck in regarding blogging just yet. All the best!

  3. Pingback: Jamface by Poh

  4. What a delectable post!! All the goodies at the famers’ market looked wonderful. So glad you had the chance to travel home and to meet Poh and have the day working with her. Sounded so exciting! I’ve been missing you and loved reading about all that’s happened.

    • Thanks so much, Rhonda! I could have eaten that whole stall… everything was so cute! It was really exciting and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity. It was a great way to end my time at home 🙂 All the best to you and yours! Lovely to catch up! xxx

  5. My good gosh, that sounds like a big ol’ check mark off your bucket list! What a wonderful thing, to meet someone you admire and they’re so kind, generous and gracious. I guess we always hope our hero’s will be that way and it’s so cool when they are. I think Poh’s packaging is so cute and fun. I especially love the wee spoon tied to the potted yogurt with bright yarn. The pink gingham is perfect for the market.

    All your photo’s are just gorgeous! Enjoyed the slide show and I must say (from what I can tell), you do not look like you eat pastries and you just had a baby! BTW ‘L’ is little Mr Trendy with the cute hat, little polo shirt and blue jeans. Why weren’t there cute fashions when I was a kid? Maybe there were but my parents insisted on hand-me-downs and unfortunately I had no sisters, HA.

    Welcome back from your dreamy holiday. I must share this with Dani at Teddy and Tottie dot com. Another WordPress friend from Australia. I’m sure she lives quite close to Adelaide. She’s a doll too. Cheers xK

    • Hi K! You’re so sweet! Thank you! x
      Oh, I really want to check out your friend’s blog too! But by all means, send her this way if you think she might be interested 🙂
      Yes, it really meant a lot to me that the people I met (and especially Poh with whom I spent some quality time) were not only nice but inspirational too… not just a product of reality TV “spin”. It’s a silly thing but I had a hard time just prior to my pregnancy with L, and during both my pregnancies I have been super sensitive, so over the years MasterChef was kind of my “happy place”… where I’d switch off and get a boost of inspiration too. So great to see former contestants really living their dreams 🙂
      The packaging is great isn’t it? Poh talked about wanting it to be “friendly” and it certainly is! I actually brought two empty yogurt jars back to Stockholm with me!
      Sadly I can’t claim responsibility for most of those photos as my brother snapped them (but told me I didn’t need to credit him). Must get a real camera! This iPhone business is getting old! lol.
      L loves wearing hats! And there are so many sweet things around for boy and girls (plus super-cute gender neutral stuff) these days. When I was little there were lots of skivvies, bad jeans and bad hairstyles! Haha
      Oh and I do ordinarily eat lots of sweet things… even if just fruit sometimes… but, yes, pastries, cookies, cupcakes, etc, too! Serious sweet tooth :P! But, right now (and for the past week and a half) I have been attempting the I Quit Sugar Program (a real food program, not a diet as such). My next post will be about it, in fact. I like to work out, so that balances things up a bit. I am back to slightly below pre-pregnancy weight now, but during both my pregnancies I stacked on the pounds (in kilos, 40 with L and 30 with Cupcake!), partly due to terrible, chronic edema and bed rest due to my high risk diagnosis with Cupcake. I don’t normally weigh myself but did at the hospital before both of them were born and those numbers are astronomical!… But I don’t believe in “dieting” (clearly!) or feeling bad about myself at any size/shape, so I think a combination of balanced eating (love my veggies too), regular but not excessive exercise and nursing both babies has helped lots and kept the process of postpartum recovery nice and gentle physically and psychologically 🙂
      Thanks so much for the warm welcome back! It’s been lovely to catch up on your posts and I look forward to staying in touch a little more! All the best to you xx

  6. I found your blog through Boomdeeadda and I’m so glad I did. It’s lovely! I enjoyed this post so much, although it’s left me a wee bit hungry for some reason . . . 🙂 It’s hard to imagine an Aussie living in Stockholm, but I’m sure it will be fun to have glimpses of your life there. I have friends from Finland and my Mum’s parents were Norwegian (Grandfather from Lillehammer and Grandmother from Trondheim), so I imagine your scenery is a bit similar.
    Either way, I’ll enjoy learning more. ~ Linne

    • Thanks so much, Linne! Yes, sometimes it’s hard to believe I AM living in Stockholm, too ;)! I get told I am crazy (mostly during the Swedish winter). We visit Finland every year as we have a family connection there too. There are similarities between all places in terms of climate, flora and fauna, but depending on where you visit, the landscapes can vary dramatically. Stockholm is a rather unique city. ‘Venice of the North’ some call it apparently! Nice to meet you! And all the very best to you x

    • Hi Suzanne! Thank you! 🙂 Yes, I always thought Callum was a sweetie. And he is in person too. He cooked for a function that a friend attended recently and apparently it was fantastic. So lovely that both Poh and Callum are living out their dreams 🙂 The Jamface jams are amazing! People kept telling me how amazing the samples were 🙂

  7. Pingback: I QUIT SUGAR TOO (an experiment in going fructose-free and eating whole) | Miss Marzipan

  8. Welcome back, sweety! I missed you heeps! xx And your tasty cool posts like this one! 🙂 Here in Belgium, we also watched the Australian Masterchef’s series! I love Poh too! x Lucky you!

    • Oh, Sophie that’s great to hear :)! I must let Poh know that she **needs** to come back to Europe and travel around a bit! She was just in Amsterdam filming something new, but I want her to come to Sweden… and she should go to Belgium too 😀
      Missed you too, Sophie! It’s nice to be back and it’s been great to read your recent posts too xxx

  9. Pingback: DIY CHOCOLATE BUNNY BUTTON DECORATIONS, IQS-STYLE (and my 15 seconds of Instafame) | Miss Marzipan

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