Phoebe Tully, founder, producer and presenter, The Kitchenet
My idea of happiness is ... dinner!
While confessing that she far prefers to play the role of interviewer, rather than interviewee, Brisbane local Phoebe Tully has little to be nervous about. At just 21 years of age, the gifted gourmand recently combined her passion for food with her experience in film to launch a brand-new web series, The Kitchenet. The show journeys behind the front doors and into the kitchens of some rather recognisable young faces, from stylist Kara Rosenlund to photographer Toby Scott. Viewers are granted unique insight into these local identities, as they chat about their lives, loves and favourite nosh while preparing a meal that not only sits well in the belly but also close to their heart. While The Kitchenet has some lofty ideals tucked in its apron – aiming to repair our fraught relationship with food and bring joy back into the kitchen – it certainly seems Phoebe is the person to make it happen. The Weekend Edition caught up with the young producer this week to talk brisket and butter.
What’s your idea of complete happiness?
What inspires you?
A really great attitude to life.
Congratulations on the launch of your new web series! How are you feeling now that your baby is out in the world?
Thank you, I can’t believe the day has finally come! While I’m obviously very excited, I can’t pretend I’m not a little nervous as well …
What do you hope viewers will take away from watching The Kitchenet?
I hope people will want to cook! And if they can get to the point they want to cook, I want them to entertain friends without apologising for anything.
What was the production process like – has it taken a long time to get it together?
The Kitchenet has changed iterations several times over the course of two years, and it was only in January this year that I decided to forge ahead and make it, even though I didn’t have funding. It then took six months to find a pro bono crew and organise the logistics of the actual shoots.
What was your biggest challenge?
Interestingly, not the lack of funding. It’s actually been slowing myself down to the point where I can break at this mammoth task one little bit at a time, and then convincing myself that I’m the right person to do it.
What first sparked the idea?
We have a really screwed-up relationship with food, and I think it comes down to a lack of skill and understanding about cooking. I’m aiming to simplify this and take away any of the glamourisation and negativity.
We’ve already spied stylist Kara Rosenlund, photographer Toby Scott and interior designer Claire Stevens in behind-the-scenes snaps, can you give us any hints about which other local legends might be featured in later episodes?
Our future guests will be more diverse in both careers and cooking styles. I’d love to have some very corporate guests to complement the creative freelancers we’ve worked with so far. And a chef.
What’s your personal favourite recipe in the series so far?
As with many pleasurable things, I think the context of a meal is sometimes more important than the meal itself. Claire made this amazing slow-cooked pork shoulder, but I think the reason it was my favourite was that it was our final episode to shoot and, after some very long days, I could finally relax. Add to that the fact that Claire and her husband are completely delightful, and I can’t quite go past it.
Who in the world would you most like to cook for you, and what would you request?
I’d like my partner to make his famous tartare. I met him when he was the head chef at Anise and he had it on the menu there, but he doesn’t make it anymore and it’s a big whole in my life.
What’s a typical day like for you?
A shoot day starts at about 6:30 am, when eight of us arrive on the doorstep of one of our very welcoming and understanding guests. While I sit in the hair/make-up chair and boss people around, my director is scouting the house and working out lighting and camera placing. The hair/make-up chair is a fun place to start, because the guest and I can have a chat about the interview and any particular areas they want to cover (over coffee, needless to say). Shooting normally begins by 8:00 am and then I’m on my feet all day until about 6:00 pm, but I get a dinner out of it!
If we peeked in your grocery bag, what could we expect to find?
Strawberries! Every time I walk past the grocers in New Farm, I’m hit by that beautiful, distinctive smell. Strawberries and butter. My partner’s a chef, and we’re always running out.
What’s your go-to dish to impress?
I don’t think I have one. I’m the sort of person who is always finding new recipes from Food52 or poring over cookbooks, so I want to try new things. That being said, a roast chicken is always appreciated.
What’s special about the fresh produce available to home-cooks in our local region?
In many cases, we hit the season first, so fruit and veg are available here before they’re available in other parts of the country. This makes it less expensive for us. I also think we’re more connected to our producers, and have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about ingredients.
Who are some local providores, growers or suppliers we should be tracking down?
I’m always excited to see people doing clever things with the same produce that’s available to me, like Yummbox, but also the people behind projects like Bee One Third seeing massive local support. Wandering Cooks is also, obviously, awesome.
How do you deal with stress in the kitchen?
I just deal with it. We’ve had situations where the recipe hasn’t worked properly and we need to try again, and the only thing to do is just get on with it. As the producer, I’m a role model for the crew and if I stress, it gives everyone else permission to stress as well.
What’s your definition of success?
What are your words of wisdom?
I can’t believe at 21 I’m being asked for my words of wisdom! Can you come back in a few years?
Only a Brisbane local would know that … we don’t really give a shit with you think, Sydney and Melbourne.
FAVOURITE WEEKEND SPOT TO:
Perk up … Chouquette, New Farm.
Relax … New Farm Cinemas, New Farm.
Dine … I don’t eat out a lot anymore, but that brisket at Gerard’s Bistro sometimes convinces me …
Indulge … The Wine Emporium, Newstead.
Shop … Leona Edmiston, Fortitude Valley.
Catch-up … my apartment, New Farm.
Be inspired … Instagram.