Mentoring, squid and sailing apparel …. By Liz Rogers

Following on from our Lovin’ Life on the Peninsula story in the January edition, Mornington Peninsula Magazine thought you’d like to know more about Liz Egan’s connection with our coast, cooking with local produce and creating long lasting ties with kids who’ve had a rough start. I caught up with this petit blond haired go-getter one stormy afternoon and, as the cumulonimbus nudged its way from the hazy horizon towards us, I found out that my namesake is smart, funny and very determined to make a difference.

“I’m really looking forward to the camp at Ferngully Lodge in Healesville. We stay for a week. The kids come from the Frankston North area and have never had the opportunity to go to camp. All we plan to do is have fun, fun, fun!”

Egan began searching for volunteer work around six years ago, after she had an accident that left her shoulder in bad shape and made commercial kitchen work a thing of the past (she misses the adrenalin rush of service and the comradeship at Becco and her 2 Chef Hats venue Onions). “There’ll be 15 primary school children from low socioeconomic families at the camp organised through The Salvation Army (in late January). If I can plant a seed in just one of these kids’ minds that there are possibilities out there, it’s been worth it.”

The easy going My Kitchen Rules judge has been emergency relief volunteering in Dingley once a week and will be in a school in Frankston North mentoring kids one on one from February onwards. “I also fundraise for the children’s hospice Very Special Kids,” she continues, and as the rain begins to thrash the sand and sea, she tells me she’s turned her hand to distributing sailing apparel with her husband David Andrew.

“I’m not a sailor, but David is mad for it, so somehow we’ve got a bedroom full of British made Rooster sailing kit! It’s a bit of fun and the brand is affordable” – Egan and Andrew like supporting club sailors and are members at Mount Martha – “We’ve taken it on and there’s a lovely tailored line for women.” Check out the website for more info.

Before we wrap it up, I ask Egan how her squid fishing has been going. “I caught one! Salt and pepper, lightly dusted in flour and deep fried quickly. Delicious. The second time I went out on the kayak with my daughter - three and a half hours later – nothing!”

That’s the luck of the draw we figure but one thing’s for sure – she’ll give it another go. You can’t stop her.