The Hobart

Jo Cook From West Hobart

by Genevieve Morton
Jo Cook From West Hobart

Meet the foodie behind every delicious bite you enjoyed at the Dark Mofo Winter Feast. Jo Cook is a Hobart food curator who makes it her business to try every delicious aspect of living in Tasmania.

What do you love about the suburb you live in?

I love the walkability of West Hobart and the community that I became a part of while my two kids went through Lansdowne Crescent Primary School. I can take a big hike up the hill to the school and further still to Knocklofty or take an easy stroll down to town and the waterfront. On my way it’s pretty likely I’ll say hi to someone who was either involved in the school, Dark Mofo or I’ll see a face from the old Syrup days and we give a smile and a nod.

What’s the best thing about Hobart?

There’s so many great people here! And still so many that I don’t know enough about and would love to know more.

And the worst?

Homelessness, unemployment and high illiteracy rates.

Tell us a little about your work?

I set up a company called Jo Cook Food Pty Ltd a year or so ago and my main contract is with Darklab as the Food Curator for City Of Hobart Dark Mofo Winter Feast. I’ve been in hospitality for 28 years and I still absolutely love the industry. There’s so much involved in creating unforgettable good times. I love working with inspiring people in food, drink, design and music and being able to deliver those great experiences.

What do you love doing outside work?

I love theatre and travel. Memorable shows were Golem by 1927, a London theatre company at the Adelaide Festival with my teenagers and Barrie Kosky’s Orpheus in the Underworld with my sister Nina in Berlin. In Hobart we try to see any shows with actors Mel King or Jeff Michel because they are such compelling performers.

Where do you go for coffee?

I’m not a regular at any cafe because I like so many places and can only handle two coffees a day but I love to go to Hamlet Cafe for the Ridgeline Pottery cups and Providence Cafe with my bootcamp mates for Marco’s service.

Favourite place to eat?

Lydia’s spicy hofan noodles at Chai Cafe, Tom McHugo’s for casual and because I know Tommy uses ethically sourced produce. I love Fico for special times and Bar Wa Izakaya for a lunchtime vegetarian ramen.

Guilty pleasure?

Hotels! I don’t get to stay in them often enough but I just love a beautiful room with a view and an excellent mini bar.

Favourite Hobart secret?

Olena’s Medovik (Ukrainian honey cake). It’s a stack of thin honey cakes layered with smetana (thickened sour cream) and topped with a dark chocolate ganache. Olena is at All Saints market in South Hobart on the last Saturday of the month as well as Sorell, Brighton and Richmond Markets. Olena is part Russian, Ukrainian and Polish. Her cakes are excellent.

Quote to live by?

I’ve adopted the quote that Bill Lark told me years ago which is ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’. ■

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May 2024

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