We are thrilled to share this story with our community of ‘For the Love of Food’ with local owner Ally Schulz.
There is nothing better than hearing how someone loves their job and has found their niche. Also, how there has been a benefit of Covid lockdown highlighted – to have your 16-year-old at home and able to assist with cooking in between her schooling commitments and having that special connection through cooking together. She even cleans up the kitchen while Ally does some local deliveries. Her son does the remainder of the deliveries, what a family operation! Other than this occasional help during lockdown, it’s actually just Ally who does the planning, baking, packing, social media, ordering and delivering!
Learn more about what her business offers, how she got started and what inspires her.
Ally can barely remember when and how her passion for food and creating meals started. She grew up on a wheat and sheep farm in Western Australia and from the young age of 12 she remembers cooking dinner every night for the family. Even then, she loved creating dishes, combining flavours and ingredients and seeing how much sharing meals brought people together.
At the age of 19 and visiting Melbourne, Ally felt like she’d found the city that resonated with her and she relocated. With varying careers in Finance, Project Management and running her own textile business, the one constant was cooking and sharing food with family and friends, as well as the odd catering job.
Approximately 18 months ago, Ally approached a new Melbourne start up business to collaborate with called Cookaborough. The co-founders suggested that it would be worth considering taking the passion for food and cooking to another level and supported Ally in getting her home kitchen registered and cooking meals for her community. For the Love of Food was born! Ally also now works for Cookaborough where she manages and supports businesses coming onto the platform four days per week. She cooks for her own business and community one day (not counting the thinking, planning, growing, preserving, prepping time). Ally says she now feels she has found her true career.
For the Love of Food offers a weekly menu which is emailed to subscribers each Wednesday morning and closes each Friday night. Delivery and pickup is available on Mondays. The menu includes starters, salads and vegetables, mains, desserts/sweet treats, flatbreads, specialty products. All with the focus of always including interesting vegetarian, gluten free and other dishes. Although not vegetarian or gluten free, Ally does love catering for all dietary requirements.
Ally has always loved cooking for people and the stars seemed to align when the opportunity to turn her cooking into a business came about. The Cookaborough platform has enabled Ally to run her business efficiently as the platform automates the manual administration including orders, reconciliation, labels, shopping lists, invoicing, order fulfilment and so much more.
More about For the Love of Food
If Ally is not cooking, she is thinking of what to cook! Inspiration comes from magazines, blogs, websites, what is growing in the garden or available seasonally, and from her favourite chef, Yotam Ottolenghi. As Ally loves to create her own recipes. There is a running joke in the family, that if they love something they can never be guaranteed to have the exact same thing again! Friends, family and particularly Ally’s husband Hayden, are also a big support to Ally. He encouraged her to turn her beloved hobby into something more.
We asked Ally about the name of her business and it turns out that it was never going to be anything else – for as long as she has dreamed of having her own business, For the Love of Food was the name.
Ally buys from local businesses for her dishes and in particular, Eltham Gourmet Poultry and Game (located at Eltham Village)and Thrive Bulk Wholefoods, where service and quality is always 100%.
Each week the menu is fresh and caters for any requests, as well as what Ally loves to eat and cook herself. She makes everything completely from scratch. Including the ricotta in the ricotta gnocchi and the goats cheese in the salmon and goats cheese tarts. Ally is continually evolving her business each week and finds it exciting to share new dishes with her customers. Some of the long-standing favourites are Lemon Sour Cream Cakes, Pumpkin and Pearl Couscous Salad and Vegetarian Sausage Rolls.
In most businesses there is always a challenging area and for Ally, it’s at 3pm on the day of delivery. It’s the peak of bringing it all together and ensuring each dish is packaged with the right amount of love.
The most rewarding thing about For the Love of Food is definitely the feedback from Ally’s customers and the look on their faces when they receive their weekly meals. They know that everything is made completely from scratch and full of nutritious ingredients. Each week Ally receives messages with what people have loved and many of the customers now feel like good friends.
The Cookaborough platform allows for the correct invoicing setup for NDIS customers too. Ally says it’s incredibly rewarding to get feedback from NDIS customers. They say how the power of choosing what they eat each week feels empowering and how thrilled they are to eat food knowing exactly what is in it.
We asked Ally about any changes she would make to her journey and her response was ‘Nothing at all. I genuinely love it. Cooking and sharing food is definitely where my heart is at.’
Are you keen to support this delicious local business? You can subscribe and receive weekly menus and feel super organised with delicious meals for the week. There is delivery available to Diamond Creek and surrounding suburbs.
If you have an upcoming event, perhaps you could chat with Ally about how she could support you with some amazing catering or her suggestions for dishes that suit you and your event.
Thank you for reading, we hope you loved learning more about this beautiful local business. Feel free to leave a comment for Ally below.
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