Getting crazy naked with Paula Morris

August 1, 2017 by

Angela posed a challenge to the food makers at Wandering Cooks a couple of weeks back urging them to get naked about their food business – Paula Morris from Happy Home Chef took on the challenge and here she is butt-naked.

I’ve been a chef since I left catering college 20 years ago in the UK and love nothing better than a good home cooked meal. Whenever my friends come over I always prepare extra food so they can take away meals for the week and that’s where Happy Home Chef started. I had a few friends that I would prepare food for and also made healthy meal preps for my disabled clients as I’m also a disability support worker.

After a few more meal requests and my kitchen getting a bit too small in my little loft apartment, I decided to rent out a kitchen at Wandering Cooks so that I could do it all legally and not worry about the council knocking on my apartment door!

Often with ideas I have, I’ll make excuses and not follow through, so this time, I bought the insurance, paid for the food license and got all my equipment so I couldn’t back out! I was ready to go and although I was excited, I was also terrified. I couldn’t sleep. I had a scroll through the Wandering Cooks Clubhouse Facebook page and everybody’s food looked so professional and packaged amazingly! I felt like an amateur and decided to pull out.

Angela wanted to show me the oven the next day so I decided I would cancel all my plans there and then and tell her I was not going through with it. I was too scared. This hobby was meant to be fun not scary!

Angela showed me the oven and all I was thinking was I need to cancel, I need to cancel, but I felt like such a wimp.

I organised to have a coffee with the lovely Maya from MYK FFF Kefir to clear up some of my worries and questions. She asked me about my labels and NIP’s. Labels? NIP’s?  I thought all I needed was a use by date! She then showed me the FSANZ website and told me all I needed to know. NIP’s, Weights, ingredient lists…. I was terrified! I’m allergic to computers and I had planned on making four different meals each week, sometimes more and I had all these label’s to do! I looked at Maya’s kefir bottle and it all looked so professional!! I was petrified. How was I going to make my little homemade meal prep packaging look this good?

I left there in a blur still not knowing whether to cancel or carry on. On the way home I drove to Officeworks and spent an hour deciphering labels, calling friends for help, googling in panic and then decided I definitely couldn’t do this. I then crashed my car not paying attention to the road five minutes from home with all this going on in my head!

That was it. No more stress, no more worry. I would cancel the whole thing in the morning!

My partner came home, gave me a pep talk and a little shake, told me to stop blubbering and to at least try to create a label before I gave up ‘like I always do’. I sat and wrote all my recipes, entered them into the NIP, and after 3 hours I had four recipes, NIPS and ingredient lists. Now it was time to put them onto a label. The hard part was over, right?

Being allergic to computers, this took me HOURS. I was on Avery typing every individual ingredient and NIP number onto the label manually, and then copying my logo. Then after 8 hours on FOUR labels they would not print inside the borders.

I cried, drank wine, cried again, nearly threw the computer at the wall and then gave up and posted my task on air tasker! This guy made me a label template and I discovered how to screen shot the NIP to save manually adding every little detail and long story short I HAD A LABEL!

I finally had my first day at Wandering Cooks. I loved being in a real kitchen with lots of space. I had a great day preparing my 70 meals. After my cook off, I got chatting to a baker who told me I needed lab tests for each product to ascertain used by dates, at a cost of $1000 per meal! And I had planned on 56 meals over an 8 week period! There was no way I could afford this. Another roadblock.

That night I didn’t sleep. Stress, worry, time to cancel my plans again and then the next day one phone call to FSANZ put me back to baseline. It was not compulsory. It now takes me 20 mins to create a label instead of 24 hours and my little ‘hobby’ is alive at Wandering Cooks. I’m actually enjoying it!


I have listened to my gut, my partner and my headaches and I have just handed in my 2 weeks notice

Time to PUSH PUSH PUSH Happy Home Chef and put 100% attention and focus into my little hobby!

No more night shifts, no more violence and no more shit…

Happy Home Chef is ready to ROCK!!!!!


Stay up to date on the food community

Would you like to receive information straight to your inbox about food business, news and other Wandering Cooks events? If so, sign up and we’ll make sure to keep you in the loop.