A chef’s life

Host: Legune Station
Written by Julie Hutchins – Cook, Legune Station.

Well, another year/season of brekkies,­ early brekkies, and some very early brekkies ­– smokos, lunches, dinners, functions, toasties Fridays, five and a half to six and a half days per week, is drawing to a close. It’s almost time to go home for Christmas with family and friends and sit around and tell yarns of the year’s events.

My day usually starts before everyone else’s and finishes after everyone else’s (with a few hours off in between). As the aroma of bacon and eggs waft over the station, lights start appearing in the darkness of the early morning, and there’s movement at the station!

It’s very different cooking in the outback, on a cattle station. It has it’s own unique challenges from those in the towns and cities where I have worked before coming to Legune. I find my “customers”, mainly fresh out of boarding school young people, to be most appreciative of the food and choice dished up to them. Over the years I have also tried to educate them and their palates that you do not need tomato or BBQ sauce on absolutely everything! To get them to actually taste the food first and not smother it with a condiment, is a challenge! I have also encouraged them to try new and different food with some delightfully delicious success. With beef being the main protein on the menu, followed by chicken, it is exciting when fresh barramundi has been caught in the water ways and is on the menu. October and November bring another delicious delight, mangoes, trees and trees of them!

Slaving over a hot stove.

Freshly caught Barra.

As most of you would know who have worked on a cattle station, it helps to be multi-skilled or at least, to be willing to have a go. I have been fortunate to have had the experience of wearing a few hats here at Legune, over the past four and a half years, all of which I have enjoyed for different reasons. Roles have included: Chef (my trade), gardener, truck driver, roller driver, housekeeping, child minding, first aider, hair dresser, bar tender, and a good listener!


Some memorable moments from this year:

  • Birthday cakes for the birthday people!
  • Finding an olive python in the cold room, cold and docile which made it easy to remove him out into the sun to defrost.
  • Finding another python in my quarters.
  • Hunting out a golden tree snake in the kitchen.
  • An injured owl nursed back to health.
  • Contractors to build a trial pond for future prawn venture.
  • Parents, family, and friends visiting to check out the station.
  • Sparkies, chippies, air con guys, chopper pilots, bird counters, pest control, trainers/educators, just some of the extras we have here to cater for.
  • And of course winning “Classic Woman” award at Ladies Day was the high light of the year for me (wearing ridiculously high shoes!)

Ladies Day 2016.

I never knock back the opportunity to go for a horse ride, either for fun or to walk cattle away. This year I think I rode about five different horses, which has made for interesting and enjoyable rides.

Practicing barrels on Sunshine.

Over all it’s been a very busy, productive year. We are just waiting for the rain to come now.