INTO THE WILD
Sarah Glover is sitting on the couch in one of the luxurious boatshed bedrooms at Tasmania’s Satellite Island. She’s just finished cooking a celebratory lunch for 20 or so of her business supporters. Wearing a long denim skirt and sipping herbal tea, she doesn’t strike you as someone who spends her days rigging up clever contraptions to cook over fire – such as the venison shot on the island that morning, saltwater-poached abalone, and the impossibly rich “fire cake” that made the lunch.
“Kate (owner of Satellite Island with husband Will) approached me a few years ago after following me on Instagram – she’s fire-obsessed, too,” says Glover. “I was starting to shoot my cookbook but had no idea where it was going. No publisher, just winging it, as I always do.”
Her inaugural cookbook, Wild, shot by friend and colleague Luisa Brimble, is now on its second release.
“Kate invited me and Luisa to come to the island and shoot for the book. Kate flew down and I invited my family and next thing we have a giant feast happening on top of the island. It just naturally progressed from there, and I now cook for guests who come and stay.”
With stunning views from every side of the island, these feasts are quite the spectacle. Tassie-born Glover’s background suggests a melding of professional and personal experiences has led her to this point. After training at TAFE, an apprenticeship at Lebrina Restaurant in Hobart and a few years in other commercial kitchens, Glover decided “the metal bench and fluoro lights weren’t for me” and moved to Queensland to train as a dietitian.
“I loved food and health, and I loved working with people. So I studied natural health at university,” she said.
Glover had struggled with dyslexia and ADD as a child, eventually being homeschooled, and felt she didn’t fit in at uni.
“So I moved to Sydney because I grew up surfing with my brothers and that was a massive part of my life.”
Landing a role as a visual merchandiser at Roxy, the women’s line of surf brand Quiksilver, Glover discovered a natural talent for VM that saw her become state manager.
When she was made redundant, Glover decided to turn the cookies she’d always baked for her surf mates into a business and launched Bondi Bikkies, a company she later took to New York for a stint before feeling the call of home and returning to Tasmania.
“Fire was always seen as a boy thing when I was growing up. Girls never really lit a fire, never really cooked over fire, so I had never explored that. We did a workshop in NSW in the Jumeirah Valley in an old shearers’ quarters. All they had was a wood-fired oven and an outdoor fire, and I thought, well, I guess I’ll just have to cook over fire. I enjoyed the challenge and the woods and the smokiness.”
Later, Glover and Brimble were photographing women surfing in Tasmania and when Glover did a beach cook-up, Brimble suggested shooting it for the book.
“That just all organically happened, and I realised, yeah, this is who I am,” she says. “I love being outdoors and adventuring and creating scenes.”
From there, Wild Kitchen was born, the arm of Glover’s growing brand where she’s on the pans, cooking and creating in the great outdoors over fire. The scenes she refers to are the beautiful set-ups throughout the book and her social channels. Wild is filled with recipes and ideas for experiencing this adventure-cooking yourself.