The Happier Camper by Liz Rogers

There’s a new ultra-cool camper about to arrive at Cocoon Campers. Finn, the Los Angeles built Happier Camper is joining the already unique retro-inspired fleet, and is set to capture the hearts of everyone who steps inside.

Cocoon Campers is proud to bring the first Happier Camper to Australian shores and it’s set to impress holiday makers and adventurers. Finn boasts a modular interior with all the mod-cons, and an adaptable layout to suit every need. Joining Mavis and Poppy to complete the glamping trio, the stage is set for original retro fun!

All Cocoon Campers are delivered to your preferred site anywhere on the Peninsula and each camper brings an authentic and refreshing way to escape. Bed linen, kitchen accessories, outdoor furniture and a multitude of authentic add-ons for a stylish and fun vacation are provided (you can also hire a BBQ, a tent for extra guests, or even a retro bike!).

For those of you travelling further afield, the Cocoon Campers team can get you moving. Towing these compact campers is easy and stress free.

For more news on the fabulous Finn and his capacity to make your holiday very special, call Cocoon Campers -  the specialists at retro inspired getaways, exclusively for you.

COCOON CAMPERS
M: 0418 519 812
W: cocooncampers.com.au
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Launch your hospitality career with Chisholm

Thinking about studying hospitality? You don’t have to go to town.

You may be mature aged or simply wanting a career change. Maybe you didn’t get the university offer you wanted?  Or perhaps you’ve been out of work raising a young family?

Chisholm TAFE at Rosebud has a variety of courses in the Hospitality space that will prepare you for work, provide apprenticeship opportunities, or further study through pathways to higher education. With a 16 per cent increase predicted in hospitality trades by 2020 and 55,000 hospitality jobs available over the next five years, there’s never been a better time to work in hospitality, particularly on the Peninsula.

TAFE programs range from commercial cookery, patisserie, and front-of-house training along with travel and tourism courses. There’s a range of job-ready short courses such as barista training and coffee making, cocktails and ‘mocktails’, Responsible Service of Alcohol and Responsible Service of Gaming to get you started.

Chisholm’s teachers work with industry to design courses that meet their needs, which means that your hospitality qualification will help you get ahead. You can start with an apprenticeship or fast-track your qualification by studying full-time.

Did you know that 61 per cent of businesses have vacancies but can’t find qualified staff? Find out what’s possible and start the conversation with your local TAFE today.

Chisholm’s Mornington Peninsula Campus located in Rosebud provides a comfortable and community based learning environment with strong links with the local industry that provide placement opportunities. Our dedicated teachers understand the local needs of industry, and make learning relevant to the future success of our students.

Applications for 2017 are still open. For more information visit chisholm.edu.au

How to work from home (despite distractions)

As I write this, I have a four-year-old and a one-year-old fighting for their dad’s attention as he’s just walked through the door. “Perfect timing to write this month’s topic,” I thought. I’m starting to change my mind.

Whether it’s children, dishes, your partner, friends, texts, social media notifications or washing to be done, there are distractions all around us when working from home. You might be lucky enough to have a room as your office or a studio out back, so you’ve cleverly eliminated some of the chaos but for the most part, the chores and interruptions are still there beckoning you.

So, how do we focus?

1.     Schedule your day like you would if you were an employee. Put a sign on your door (if you have one!) to let anyone you live with know that you’re working and they’re not to disturb you. Decide your start and finish time as well as your lunchtime and breaks.

2.     WORK during your work hours. The washing can be hung out before you start or on a break. Turn your social media and email notifications off and set a time to check them (I check emails at 12.30pm and 4.30pm each day. Read The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss for more on this).

3.     If you have children home, you’ll undoubtedly need to work around their meal and nap times. Leave heavy-duty or time consuming tasks for early morning before they wake, during naps or once they’re in bed. If you can get them looked after for even one day a week or fortnight, be sure to use your time wisely, focusing on income generating activities or major projects.

Sign of the times - Working dogs rule! by Liz Rogers

Pepper, Indy and William love going to work. And that’s not just because their owners are there with them. It’s because they get to meet all kinds of interesting people throughout the day, chase balls and butterflies and chow down like kings (the scraps off the lunch table can been tasty!). These are well-loved members of an extended family who are a tad dog crazy and don’t care if anyone knows it.

Progress Signs has been around since 1988. This sign writing business (think everything from road signs to shop fronts to real estate and large format sign writing) is a Mornington institution. It was founded by Graeme, and his sons Steve and Craig run the show now with dad and have always had dogs by their side.  

After all – dogs are man’s best friend and friends stick like ‘fuzzy’ mud.

Steve’s dog Pepper (Border Collie) is the oldest and Graeme’s dog William (Labrador Kelpie Cross) is the youngest. The middle ‘furry child’ Indy (Craig’s dog) is a German Short Haired Pointer. (There’s also a cat called Peppe who was found in the yard one day and stayed. She’s around 10 years old).

“The clients love having them around,” says Graeme, who has always had a canine companion at work. Before adopting William, Graeme’s best friend was a black Labrador called Diesel. “It’s a generational thing. They come out with us on jobs if they can, or hang out at the factory because there’s always somebody there. They really go everywhere with us. We’re companions. Everyone knows them.”

When the terrific trio isn’t working (of sorts) they like to go for walks – Indy loves the Balcombe Estuary Reserves -  and of course hunkering down for a snuggle or a bowl of Black Hawk grub.

Drop by to say hi any time. You’ll be welcomed with wagging tails and smiles.

Now that’s a sign of the times.

On the ride of a lifetime

“It’s beginning to feel like it was all a long time ago but we’re still really, really proud of her.”
Pam Hawkes is reminiscing while on her way to Wagga to see one of her horses run.  She doesn’t give it much hope, but she saw it born five years ago and wild horses couldn’t keep her away.  “It doesn’t matter whether it’s at Mornington on a midweek race or Wagga tomorrow, it’s just fantastic.  We get just as much thrill watching her run as we did watching Black Caviar.”

It has been almost four years since Black Caviar ran her last race – the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick.  It was her 25th win from 25 starts and her 15th Group 1 win – both records – and her brilliant career captivated the racing world and delighted the group of lifetime friends who for years had talked about owning a racehorse.  “We used to go to the Melbourne Cup and we’d say ‘Gee, we should get a horse together; it’d be a lot of fun’.”

One day, with Pam stuck on her vegetable farm at Boneo, the others called her from the Murray River houseboat on which they’d all stay and said they were going to buy a horse. “I said ‘I’m in but I only want a fast one’, so they took me at my word and got a fast one.”

The eight syndicate members each suggested three names for the filly and everyone voted; Pam’s suggestion – inspired by her love of caviar - got up.  “You’ve got to have a catchy name for people to take notice of, and it worked.  We’re very fond of champagne as well and you always hope you’ll have an excuse to celebrate; we haven’t had that much caviar because, by gum, it’s expensive but we’ve had plenty of opportunities to celebrate with champagne.”
Pam’s love of horses goes way back to growing up on a farm in Keysborough, where she used to watch her grandfather’s Clydesdales plough the fields and ride the Shetland he bought for her, so it’s no surprise she saw all Black Caviar’s races and went to every trial.   One of her favourites is the Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February 2013, the mare’s return from injury sustained during her triumph at Ascot eight months earlier.

“We’d virtually written her off; we left Ascot thinking we’ve got a brood mare.  But she just jumped and ran and broke the track record and just blew everybody away. It was just fantastic.”
Another highlight was the TJ Smith at Randwick in April 2011, when she made up seven lengths on Hay List, the second-highest rated sprinter in the world.  “It was phenomenal.”

The same group of friends are now racing Black Caviar’s first foal, Oscietra, who ran third in her first start on New Year’s Day at Flemington, but they still occasionally visit the grand dam and get regular updates from the stud where she is in foal again.  “The last one we got was to say how magnificent she’s looking and she’s never looked better.” 

Pam Hawkes will address the Frankston Business Network in the Mornington Racing Club’s Gunamatta Room on March 8, 11.30am-2.30pm.  Tickets (including a two-course lunch, champagne on arrival, and tea and coffee) cost $69 ($65 for FBN members; $625 for a table of 10).  Bookings: www.frankstonbusinessnetwork.com.au or 9781 1422.

 

TAFE helps Ben nail a new career

Are you mature-aged or simply wanting a career change?  Maybe you didn’t get the university offer you wanted.  Maybe you’ve been out of work raising a young family.  Chisholm TAFE at Rosebud has a variety of courses that offer further pathways in both careers and higher education with programs including VCAL, early childhood education and care, aged care, hospitality and tourism, building trades and more.

When Ben Snell approached Chisholm about a career change, the building and trades staff tailored a program just for him that enabled him to continue working to support his young family.  As a registered nurse working in mental health for 14 years, Ben was ready for a change, but with family commitments it wasn’t so clear cut.

After being repeatedly knocked back in his quest for an apprenticeship opportunity, Ben realised he needed to demonstrate to potential employers that he had the technical skills required to do the job, so he contacted Chisholm Rosebud about completing a pre-apprenticeship.  The program usually runs over 12 weeks, but given Ben’s situation the Chisholm carpentry team modelled an individual training program that enabled a flexible option to complete a pre-apprenticeship over a longer timeframe.

Ben successfully completed his pre-apprenticeship in 2016 and obtained a trial labouring for three months during which his employer, Waterworth Constructions owner-operator Mark, offered him a mature-age apprenticeship in carpentry. Now Ben is completing his Certificate III in Carpentry at Chisholm.

“I wouldn’t have been able to get an apprenticeship without the help of Chisholm,” he said.
Chisholm’s Mornington Peninsula Campus in Rosebud provides a comfortable and community-based learning environment with strong links to the Peninsula industry that provides placement opportunities.  Chisholm’s dedicated teachers understand the needs of industry and make learning relevant to the future success of students.

Applications for 2017 are now open. For more information visit www.chisholm.edu.au

CHISHOLM ROSEBUD
A: cnr Henry Wilson Drive and Boneo Rd, Rosebud
T: 5950 2050
W: chisholm.edu.au

Cornish College Celebrates Five Years

Cornish College celebrated its five-year Foundation Day on February 16.  The college opened in 2012 as a new co-educational independent school with 220 students.  Five years on the school welcomed 702 students from ELC to Year 12 this year.

A group of students cut the birthday cake at the Foundation Day Assembly, including youngest student 3-year-old Lenia, from the Early Learning Centre, oldest student James, 18, in Year 12 and 700th student Alicia, Year 6, who joined Cornish College this year.

Former student leader Eliza Wilton addressed the assembly and Year 9 students Nikki, Emmy, Naomi, Danielle and Maddy performed ‘In This Place’, a song written about Cornish College by former student Andy Olszewski.

All 702 students enjoyed a birthday cup cake on the Village Green at the school afterwards.

Situated on 100 acres of natural parkland, Cornish College embraces its environment as part of the teaching and curriculum design. A unique part of the Cornish College campus is the Cornish Links nine hole golf course. More than 100 boys and girls from the age of three to 17 participate in the golf program, which is led by a passionate team of coaches, including Mr Sean Kirschenberg, Certified PGA Golf Professional, Mrs Nadina Light, Golf Professional, and Cornish College’s chaplain Jarrod Davies.

Despite the growth in student numbers, Cornish College is still a medium-sized co-educational school where students are known and learning is personalised and engaging.

Cornish College’s motto is “Make a Difference” and at its core is the development of independence, compassion and personal excellence in order for students to make a positive contribution within their community and globally.

Students come from a wide range of bayside and Peninsula regions, with the school’s extensive private bus services covering the regions, including Frankston, Frankston South and Mount Eliza.

Cornish College welcomes interested families to an Open Morning on Wednesday, March 8, from 10am to 1pm and a School Tour on Saturday April 22, 2017.

Please register at cornishcollege.vic.edu.au

CORNISH COLLEGE
A: 65 Riverend Rd, Bangholme
T: 9781 9000
W: cornishcollege.vic.edu.au

Paddle Out For a Cause

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Get your paddling arms in shape and get on board an event that’s about to redefine the concept of surfing for a good cause.

On Saturday, April 1, the Mornington Peninsula surfing community will host a unique surf competition at Shoreham with a simple goal – to raise money for the Disabled Surfing Association’s Mornington Peninsula Branch (DSAMP). It doesn’t get much more community than this. 

Registrations are open and excitement is building, with the major prize a $2000 travel voucher from JetStar. All funds raised at the inaugural DSAMP Champs event will help fund DSAMP’s two annual events for surfers with disabilities, held at Pt Leo.

The DSAMP Champs is no ordinary surfing competition. It’s designed to create the ultimate level playing field for all competitors. As organiser Rod Jones from The FirstReef Project team (essentially an organised group of Peninsula surfers with big hearts, looking for innovative ways to support surfers with disabilities) explains, all entrants will surf on identical boards – 10’ soft longboards - and wait til you hear about how you can win!

“There are some very good surfers down here who would dominate the competition so we were very keen right from the start to make sure it wasn’t a normal competition,” Rod explains. “We’ve come up with a fun concept where it’s a team competition, each team has four surfers, and so long as all team members paddle out, catch one wave and stand up, your team qualifies for the prize draw.” So yes, the winning team, plus second and third prizes, will ultimately be drawn from a hat.

Maladiction Longboarders (a club of devoted surfers from the Mornington Peninsula - www.maladiction.org) came up with the prize draw idea and will run the event; Jetstar is on board as the major sponsor via its Community Grant Fund; Trigger Bros are donating the second prize (a Trigger Bros Surf Pack) and third prize is dinner for four at Stillwater at Crittenden, donated by Peninsula Speech Pathology Services.

There are also a bunch of fabulous and fun minor prizes:, for the highest team score, longest noseride, best wipeout, most outrageous manœuvre, best costumes, paddle race winner and beach volleyball winner. The minor prizes include an iPad from Telstra Frankston, wine packs, beer packs, a surf wear pack from Bass Surfboards, and a Gonadman pack from Mark Sutherland!

Entry is $200 per team, register at www.firstreef.weebly.com or ring Rod on 0438 458 064, and for more on the DSAMP visit www.disabledsurfers.org/vic/morning-peninsula-branch

Destiny’s descendant - the self-deprecating Mr Walden by Liz Rogers

Words flow freely with the 71-year-old Mal Walden. His “self-defecating” (yes, you’ve got to “rubbish yourself”) wit merges with a wealth of experience to create an enthralling discourse that bypasses his public persona and makes you feel at ease.

Many of us grew up with him. Many of us loved watching Mal’s Melbourne (Eyewitness News’ human interest story segment). Either way, he’s a British-born Frankston lad who somehow wandered into our living rooms most nights via the gogglebox. Since retiring from Channel 10 in 2013 – he prefers the term ‘stepping down’ – Mal’s life hasn’t slowed. His memoir The News Man – 60 Years of Television was published by Brolga last year and he’s already writing his next book.

Retiring my ass! This ‘ginger’ son of English immigrants who landed in Coogee Ave, Frankston, in 1952 keeps his ears and eyes wide open, watching and waiting.  Fifty-three years is a long time to be in an industry that can make or break you, but this journalist, writer and newsreader has survived “by being open to opportunity and in the right place at the right time. I believe life is pre-destined”.

The young Mal Walden won a ‘secret sound’ radio competition when he was 15. Heading into the station to collect his prize, he was hit with a “bombshell”.

“I’d been tinkering with crystal and valve set radios for years. I picked up the wrong signal, entered this competition and won. I knew then and there what I wanted to do. Radio, then television. I’ve been hired, fired, promoted and demoted. It’s been a roller-coaster.

“My parents were the original boat people,” he continues. “Dad was the chief salesman for Polaroid and was on In Melbourne Tonight (Graham Kennedy) and the Happy Hammond children’s television show. Contacts. He inquired about how I might get into radio.” We agree on how important it is to develop a firm network and the absence of discussion re what migrants leave behind. “I can’t imagine not seeing my family,” he says.  He and his wife, Pauline, have just welcomed their first grandson and Mal has already privately published a couple of kids’ books for him.

“When we first arrived in Frankston my parents thought it was a one-horse town. They were the original pioneers. I have fond memories of being a Scout in the ‘50s and lining up at Davey St (Frankston) Primary School swearing allegiance to the flag; drinking a curdled half-pint of milk. We used to have bonfire nights in the square that used to be where the cinemas are now.” His younger sister still lives in Frankston.

Mal penned The News Man from his 53 diaries compiled over his life in media. “Sometimes I wouldn’t listen to the stories when reading the news if they were too distressing. Turn the headset off.” It was hard when his friend Brian Naylor and wife died in the Black Saturday fires, and when Greg Shackleton (Balibo Five) was murdered. “We pre-recorded the bulletin reporting on the Seven helicopter crash in 1982. Many journalists self-medicated back then. It’s only now we are seeing post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of the journos who were first on the scene were exposed to brutal situations.” He also covered Cyclone Tracy in 1974 (pictured).
This longest-serving newsman on Australian television takes nothing for granted. Yes, he’s been stalked. Yes, he’s been spat on, and yes, there have been messages left under his front door.
“Stories get told before we know if they are true or not now,” he muses. I agree. News can sometimes seem more like a surreal social media ‘hoedown’ these days.

But not in Mr Walden’s time. He was and still is the real down to earth ‘Frankston boy’ deal.
Destiny aside.

Brooke Hogan, Life in the Fast Lane

Brooke Hogan, 24, is one of Australia’s top models, she’s from Frankston and she has just been named the Female Ambassador for the 2017 Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix (March 23 – 26)!

This ‘girl next door’ shot to prominence when she appeared on Australia’s Next Top Model 2013 and she now has more than half a million followers on social media. She spoke with Mornington Peninsula Magazine about her meteoric rise, her new role and her love for Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula (for more on the Grand Prix and to purchase tickets go to www.grandprix.com.au/tickets).

You have more than half a million followers on social media and a skyrocketing career. We love that you are from Frankston. Please tell us where you grew up and what you love about the area.
Oh thank you! Yes, I am a Frankston girl born and bred and I love it. My parents still live there now and I love going home to visit them! I went to Ballam Park Primary School and McClelland College in Frankston. I have always loved living on the Peninsula, they say home is where the heart is and I believe that 100 per cent. There are so many things I LOVE and the list is continuing to grow! There are some great new little cafés and shops but my favourite thing about the area would have to be that it is where my family are ☺

Do you still spend time on the Mornington Peninsula?
Yes, I do spend a lot of time here. My family still live there and I go home quite a lot. My boyfriend Myles lives in Portsea so I would say I spend 50 per cent of my time in Melbourne and the other 50 on the Peninsula!

Favourite café, restaurant and beach on the Mornington Peninsula to hang out at and why?
I have two favourite cafés - 6 nutrition in Frankston, they have THE BEST acai bowls ever and also Store Fifteen in Mornington - really healthy and organic foods with delicious smoothies! Favourite restaurants would be Doc in Mornington and Hotel Sorrento in Sorrento. Favourite beach would be Shelley Beach in Portsea, the water is super clean, there is a beautiful view on the walk down, a little pier to walk down as well and it isn’t too crowded (unless it’s peak summer time).

Do you use Peninsula locations in your Instagram photos?
Yes all the time! ☺

What does it mean to be named the 2017 Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix Female Ambassador? Tell us a little about this amazing role!
I am so excited to be named Ambassador for Grand Prix for 2017. It is a role that I have had my eye on for quite a while now and I am over the moon that the opportunity has come around. The Grand Prix is such an iconic time for Australia and we are so lucky to host such a prestigious event here in Melbourne. It’s going to be an action packed exciting few days and I am thrilled to showcase Melbourne in all its glory!

You were at the Portsea Polo, please tell us a little about that. We photographed you there :)
Yes, I remember that photograph! ☺ The polo is up there with one of my favourite times in Melbourne! Being close to home makes it even better. As much as it’s all about the sport, it’s also about such a great atmosphere with your friends!

What is your message to young women, particularly local girls, who might wish to dream big and follow in your footsteps?
I could write an essay on this haha. My advice would be, don’t doubt yourself. If you want something, you need to work as hard as you can to get there. You can’t just sit around waiting for something to happen, it doesn’t work like that. Figure out what it is you want to do, get up and go get it ☺!

Peninsula Travel spreads its wings

What’s better than having award-winning agency, Peninsula Travel, take care of all your travel arrangements? Having two offices to choose from, of course!

Fresh from victory at the helloworld national titles, where director Michele Saunderson and her team of top-notch consultants took home the coveted Vic/SA/Tas Retailer of the Year title, the Peninsula’s premier agency is proud to announce it will now bring its exceptional service and unsurpassed knowledge to Red Hill.

Peninsula born and bred, when it came time to make the leap and open her own agency in 2005, location was a no-brainer for Michele. “I grew up in Somers. I’m a Peninsula girl, so there was never any question about where I would open my first office. It had to be on home turf,” she said.

Travelscene Mt Martha was born, quickly growing from a one-woman show to a team of six experienced consultants and a receptionist.

In 2010, in order to provide clients with exclusive cruises and offers, the agency became a member of the largest cruise consortium in the Southern hemisphere – Cruiseco.
In 2013, Michele joined the helloworld family, re-branding her successful agency to Peninsula Travel.

Last year the office added yet another impressive string to its bow when it was invited to join the exclusive luxury travel consortium Virtuoso.  

“We joined Virtuoso because of a growing need to better service our luxury travellers,” Michele said. “We can do this now with exclusive rates and offers on over 1300 of the world’s finest hotels, and with contacts located in the destinations our clients are travelling to, we can deal directly with a local.”

The agency’s continued growth and success was the impetus behind the decision to branch out, Michele said. And when it came to scouting for a location, it was only natural that office number two be Peninsula-based.

“It was always my plan to become the go-to travel advisors for all of the Peninsula. Now, with Red Hill, I can make that a reality,” she said. “We will be able to service our clients on the other side of Peninsula better and also reach new clients who haven’t experienced our great service yet.”

 

PENINSULA TRAVEL
A: 9 Bay Rd, Mount Martha
A: 87 Arthurs Seat Rd, Red Hill
W: www.peninsulatravel.com.au

 

Festival to feed the soul

Mornington’s coolest food, wine and music gathering, The Peninsula Picnic, is back! Presented by Infiniti, and this year taking place on the first Saturday in April, it will be the perfect weekend event for foodies, music aficionados and families alike.

Headlined by Melbourne rhythm ensemble The Cat Empire, with a supporting line-up of rocking acts including Bob Evans (Jebediah frontman), Sydney folk angels All Our Exes Live in Texas and local up-and-comers nyck and Harrison Storm, the Mornington Racecourse is set to entertain on April 1.

Eight of the region’s best restaurants and five wineries have been handpicked to keep the crowds buzzing across the one-day festival, including Max’s at Red Hill, Merricks General Wine Store, Alatonero, Polperro, Montalto, Green Olive, D.O.C Mornington, Quely and Flinders Hotel all popping up to fill your basket and your glass.

Pitched among the pristine greenery of the Mornington Racecourse, seamlessly blending the authenticity of a food and wine event with the fun and energy of a live music festival, The Peninsula Picnic presented by Infiniti has built a name for itself as one of the best boutique festivals the state has to offer.  Organisers have expanded the event space for a greater audience, and more great real estate to spread your rug.

There will be no better way to spend your Saturday than with some mates, fresh food and wine and a comfortable patch of grass with The Cat Empire and the stunning Mornington Peninsula as your backdrop.

Tickets are on sale now and expected to sell fast, grab your group, pack your picnic blanket and head to www.peninsulapicnic.com.au to secure your spot now.

Miss Western Port Finalists Revealed

The annual Western Port Festival returns on February 24-26 and with it, the Miss Western Port Pageant.

Mornington Peninsula Magazine caught up with this year’s finalists ahead of the February 25 judging. Miss Western Port 2017 will be announced on the RPP FM Main Stage on Saturday, February 25, 1.30pm - 2pm.

The mission of the Miss Western Port Pageant is to create opportunities for local young women. Entrants are judged on their community service involvement, ability to connect with people from all walks of life, poise, presence, interviewing skills and confidence. “She must be an all-rounded woman who has a desire to make a positive impact in her community while being a positive role model to others,” director Hannah Swinnerton explains.

*The theme for the 2017 Western Port Festival is ‘Superheroes’ (a superhero can be a Mum, Dad, emergency services worker, volunteer and more). More at westernportfestival.org.au

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 sailingkit.com.au 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.