Ree is a young Fijian-Croatian woman who was exposed to a wide variety of different cultures from a young age through her mother’s missionary work in Brisbane. Ree also lived in Uganda for some time, where she learned to cook things like nsenene (grasshopper) and fufu with her grandparents.
An active and creative young community leader, Ree still finds the time to cook and eat well. Her home-cooked dishes are informed by the many cultures she has encountered through her life. From deep fried cassava to lamb stew and salads, Ree is adept at using food as a way to connect with others and regularly hosts dinners for her friends. She is fascinated by cooking videos on TikTok and sees their power to influence the way we eat, as well the way we see each other. Ree hopes that an expanded acceptance of the way food looks and is presented on social media will foster an attitude of looking beyond the surface, creating a broader acceptance of different types of food, bodies and cultures.
“Sharing food from our cultural backgrounds helps us learn about each other and respect our differences, which is such a vital thing to have in the multicultural world we live in today. It’s up to all of us to create a safer place for people express their cultural roots, whether it’s through food, clothes or something else. By doing projects like this we create opportunities for people to get to know alternatives to the standard, western diet and that one definition or ‘healthy’ eating. I am very excited to be part of this group of incredible women and present our individual expressions of culture, history and personal journey through food.”
Produced by MAV, Greater Shepparton City Council and Point of Difference Studio, the Shepparton Culture Kitchen project is one of 5 initiatives supported through VicHealth’s Art of Good Health program. Drawing on Shepparton’s identity as Victoria’s ‘food bowl’ and its most culturally diverse regional town, Shepparton Culture Kitchen is a significant arts initiative centreing the voices of local women of colour, to build a future in which we are connected through empowering, healthy and sustainable food cultures.