Interview by Natalie Tabone
Photos by Paris and Pete Crosbie
Where do you live?
I live in the little suburb of Highton in Geelong, but I also spend a lot of my time at the family home in Freshwater Creek on the Surfcoast.
What do you do?
After recently taking a break from my incredible journey as a cook at Diggers Vegie Kitchen, I’m soaking up the sun and enjoying time with loved ones before starting on a new adventure!
On the side I am studying to be a Canine and Equine Bowen therapist- a great holistic therapy that works with the body’s own healing processes and responses 🙂
For 10 years my parents Pete and Jeannete Crosbie and myself, have been running the family property in Freshwater Creek as Willowite Animal Sanctuary, a refuge for ill, abandoned and mistreated animals- so I guess that has been a huge part of what I do too!
What does veganism mean to you?
For me veganism is the life that flows from the simple decision that if an animal wants to live.. then let them live. I don’t need to harm another being to be happy and healthy. For me it’s all about the animals, the added health and environmental benefits are a bonus. Compassion and kindness applies to all beings, human and non- human. I see first hand what happens to the animals in the dairy and meat industries, we rescue and rehabilitate as many as we can but we have a minor impact when you look at the big picture, compared to the impact you have when you live a vegan lifestyle. In saying that, whilst the sanctuary doesn’t change the lives of hundreds of thousands of animals, it sure does change the lives of the lucky ones that enter through the front gate of Willowite.
What is your most memorable dining/eating experience?
My most memorable dining experience would be from 4 years ago in New Zealand. I was over there with my two best friends and we tried the famous Fergburger. Sitting on the grass overlooking Lake Wakatipu to the stunning, magial mountains with this incredible, mouth watering vegan satay tofu burger. It was huge and possibly the best thing I’ve ever tasted!! Nothing fancy, just good food with the best company a girl could ask for.
No wonder I had a huge, never ending love for NZ after that trip.
If you could invite 3 people (historical or current) to dinner who would they be?
Just 3?! Well it would have to be my late grandfather, he is the reason I love cooking, and my parents.
What would you serve?
It would be a huge buffet table of all different things! Roast veggies with plenty of herbs and spices, salads with sprouts and grains, and definitely sticky date pudding- the family favourite.
Sweet or savoury?
Sweet! My biggest passion with vegan cooking is watching people’s confusion and surprise when you tell them that the incredible dessert they have just eaten was all cruelty free. You can make anything cruelty free, you just have to think outside the box!
Where is your favourite food destination?
Veggie Bar is always a winner, you can take anyone there and be assured they will absolutely love it.
What’s your speciality dish?
It would have to be my white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake, incredibly decadent and is requested very regularly!
What is your favourite song/album to listen to in the kitchen while cooking?
The new JT song! Can’t stop that feeling, far too catchy it’s ridiculous.
What food best describes your personality?
You know what.. I did a buzz feed quiz thingy the other day for this! The answer was sushi (vegan sushi obviously). Smart, sophisticated and fancy.. But will slap anyone who tries to dip me in soy sauce!
What’s your favourite thing to eat on a hot summers day?
A huuuuge fruit salad! Topped with chia and coconut crisps.
On a cold winters night?
You can never beat a good soup, so many hearty veggies you can use, not to mention grains. Yum!
You’ve been asked to contribute a recipe to an upcoming cookbook. What is it?
I’d have to make it my cheesecake, it’s so popular with the family and everyone always asks for the recipe- the hard bit is trying to work out what the recipe actually is! Have never been good at following those things.
If you were a vegetable what would you be?
A beetroot! So vibrant and an amazing colour. So versatile too with a little thought. Everyone that likes beetroot loves it!
Describe a normal day in the life of Paris.
6:30am wake up by Rupert jumping up and down on my pillow (my house trained Rabbit). Feeding all of the animals in my house before I even think about what’s for breakfast for me. Breakfast! – usually simple fruit salad. A walk around the river before heading to which ever work I have planned for the day. A visit to Willowite Animal Sanctuary and then back home to cook multiple things that I’ve been thinking about during the day for people! Dinner somewhere in there too then quality time with my beloved 4 legged friends.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Caramel sauce, the rich sauce I make for a sticky date pudding. I could eat the whole pot of it!
What did you have for breakfast?
Breakfast consisted of smashed avo on toast with cherry tomatoes and almond feta! Sprinkled with nutritional yeast, I’m addicted to that stuff.
You’re on death row and it’s your last meal. What do you eat?
Sticky date pudding with a heap of caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream, plenty of strawberries too.
What are your plans for 2016?
2016 is going to be a year of taking time out for me and for loved ones around me. A year of re-energising to take on some pretty exciting challenges in 2017. But of course there will be lots of cooking, and hopefully getting my desserts a little more well known within Geelong whilst working with some inspiring people. 🙂