A finalist in the search for Australia’s top woman chef, Tracey Holderness is still a down-to-earth girl who cooks with love and enjoys a good roast.
Being nominated as a finalist for Australia’s top woman chef is something Tracey Holderness should be able to take in her stride. That is considering her career covers the one Michelin Dorchester Hotel, the QEII and Sydney Olympic Stadium, and she has cooked for the likes of the Queen and the Sheik of Bahrain. Yet the chef and owner of Strawberry X in Surry Hills retains a love of food that is homely and grounded. All the food that leaves her kitchen has to pass the grade – has it got love on it?
Tracey remembers cooking with her family as a child, and seeing her short-statured grandmother on hands and knees kneading bread into a bowl (easier for her than on the workbench). Today she is still a strong believer in baking bread with friends around the table, for her a “very soulful” activity. Her idea of a great evening is to return from a day of horse riding, have a hot bath, then grab a bottle of red and settle down to a good roast for dinner. Roasts are good because they “take care of themselves as long as you set them up properly and allow plenty of time to cook”. Preparing in advance, she says, is the home cook’s secret to not missing out on all the fun.