When Janene Gardner and Mary Marks bought a café business on Tamborine Mountain 10 years ago their plan was to close the café and run a dedicated art gallery.
The women, who have 20 years experience working in the Queensland arts industry, soon realised their Marks & Gardner Gallery would benefit from the café and they had a baptism of fire in food.
Now Janene concedes they are now just as well known for the fresh, local, simple food they serve from their Verandah Café as they are for the art they display in their gallery.
During Eat Local Week the women will host Tamborine Mountain local, chef and restaurateur Brenda Fawdon, who started Mondo Organics in Brisbane in 2000.
The Brenda Fawdon Literary Tasting Event will feature a cooking demonstration by Brenda, with plenty of opportunities to taste her creations, which will be feature organic Scenic Rim produce.
“Brenda is an absolute performer, she’s larger than life,” says Janene.
“She stands up there preparing food, chatting and telling you jokes. This will not just be a cooking lesson but it will deliver lots of good health advice about quality food and what it does for your body.
“Brenda will cook, you will taste her food and enjoy a glass of wine. It’s a nice social occasion.”
Janene says she and Mary have also scheduled a food-themed art exhibition to run during Eat Local Week. Food Glorious Food features the work of local artists, including Annie Franklin.
“Annie has done etchings of tamarillos and pumpkins and Di Peach has created some beautiful teapots,” says Janene.
“Our food business is increasing. We consider ourselves a gallery with a café but we have a hard time convincing people we’re not a café with art on the walls.
“From the start we said, ‘Let’s keep our food simple. It’s an adjunct to the gallery. Our food is dictated by what we have around us. I have a five acre property so we always have vegetables, avocados and tamarillos.
“We use simple fresh ingredients and have some great girls working in the kitchen.
“I have found people are increasingly asking for locally-produced, seasonal food.”
Tickets for the Literary Tastings Event are $25. The event runs from 2.30pm to 5pm on Sunday June 29. Bookings are essential. Find out more at www.eatlocalweek.com.au
Pictured at the top of this page are Mary Marks, Valerie Cross and Jodie Shepherdson of Marks & Gardner Gallery Cafe with some of their local Tamborine Mountain produce.