Simmone Logue on turning a childhood passion into a multi-faceted business, and the food revolution that’s followed.
You’ve probably heard of the Simmone Logue Fine Food Company. What began as a tiny cake store is now a multi-faceted business offering catering and ready-to-heat meals, collaborating with big supermarkets and airlines.
Simmone Logue, the driving force behind it, turned her childhood passion for food into a professional pursuit in her late twenties. With two stores in Sydney’s Double Bay and Cammeray, Logue now cooks from a 1000 square metre kitchen with 80 cooks beside her.
With the release of her first cookbook, In The Kitchen, Simmone Logue speaks to us about the value of fresh, seasonal produce and how the food revolution is giving every Australian access to it.
Q&A with Simmone Logue
When did your passion for good food begin?
Both my Grannies were unbelievable cooks. My maternal grandmother ran the canteen in the mine where my Pop worked. She was always cooking cakes and baking at home to take to the canteen the next day. My paternal Grannie, Nana Logue, was the home science teacher at Muswellbrook High. Besides always bringing home treats from school it was my Nana Logue who taught me where my food actually came from. She had a massive veggie garden and a chook pen where we would collect the eggs for our breakfast, so fresh they were still warm. Nana Logue taught me how to catch crayfish in the dam on the farm by placing a piece of meat in the end of an old pair of panty hose and dangling it into the dam on the end of a stick. All of this stuff was just seeping in, and I suppose without actually knowing it that is where my passion for food really began.
What is your food philosophy?
I believe I have always had a very simple and wholesome approach to my cooking, from growing up in the country and really appreciating that the food has come from the ground or the sea or the paddock. It's not to be taken for granted. Food tastes better when you buy or gather when the produce is in season and at its best so why over complicate it? Just let the produce shine.
How did your business evolve from a simple cafe to catering and offering ready-to-heat meals? Why did you choose to move in this direction?
My business grew very organically. I just followed my instinct and gave people what they were fundamentally asking for. In the demographics of where I began and still work, my clientele are busy with the demands of work, being great parents and going to the gym to keep fit and look great. They needed and still need someone to nourish them and their family. That's where I come in. My food is cooked with love and integrity and I never take short cuts. I always say “close your eyes and put the food in your mouth, it should transport you to your grandmother's kitchen table.” In business if you listen to your customers and give them what they want, executed well and with passion you will be successful. It's simple really.
You cook food for busy people, but what advice do you have for busy people trying to eat well?
These days with what I call the "Food Revolution" busy people can eat well like never before. Even the big supermarkets are providing great quality food and working with artisans like myself to bring beautiful handmade products to store. My product is now available in many supermarkets and I'm proud of that. I love the fact that quality can meet convenience.
Your produce is always market fresh. Why is it so vital to cook with fresh, seasonal produce?
I always say "a good beginning makes for a good end" and that's how I feel about my cooking. I always start with beautiful fresh produce and cook it well, give it time and the result will shine. You get out of it what you put into it.
What does the future hold for the Simmone Logue Fine Food Company?
My business is growing year on year as I push into new markets with my brand. I am currently working very successfully with Woolworths, David Jones and Qantas both in business class and economy nationally. My dream is to sell my pies and home cooked dinners to every supermarket all over the country and to take beautiful food to places you would least expect to eat it. These days the consumers’ expectations are so much higher than previously so just because you are at a football event or flying economy on an airline doesn't mean they shouldn't have the chance to eat nutritious food.
After two decades in the food industry, and seeing your own business evolve what are you most proud of?
The day I was served a little cake on board Qantas in a Simmone Logue branded patty case was a very emotional moment and a chance to reflect on the years of hard work, commitment and sacrifice. It was a big moment! I have also just published my first cookbook with Murdoch Books called In The Kitchen. I am very proud of the book as it has 25 years of collected recipes and anecdotes. All of my favourites. It's not just a cookbook it's a documentation of my journey and how if you follow your dreams and really work hard anything is possible.
What does Simmone Logue want to be doing in retirement?
Recently I had the pleasure of eating at Paul Bocuse's restaurant in Lyon. It was amazing, although the most inspiring thing of all was to hear that he still, at the age of 91 walks through his kitchen every single day. That might be me or maybe not. Maybe I will head for the hills and own a small herd of goats and make cheese every day.