Duo stirred into Ekka action

HUSBAND-and-wife team Peter and Megan Rodger from Ormiston, hope to cook up a storm and bowl over judges at this year’s Ekka, entering a breath-taking 41 categories. HUSBAND-and-wife team Peter and Megan Rodger from Ormiston, hope to cook up a storm and bowl over judges at this year’s Ekka, entering a breath-taking 41 categories.
Nanjing Night Net

HUSBAND-and-wife team Peter and Megan Rodger from Ormiston, hope to cook up a storm and bowl over judges at this year’s Ekka, entering a breath-taking 41 categories.

The pair has devoted their spare time to cooking cakes, bread, pesto, sauces, pottery, cards, origami, wall hangings, photographs and scrapbooking to enter at the show.

Although they don’t have kids, their two dogs, Benson, a South African mastiff, and Dexter, a mastiff cross, keep them busy along with their many hobbies, ranging from pottery to pesto sauce.

Peter, who works with the Queensland Police Service, said both were “novices” at entering Ekka competitions but decided to go “full tilt” this year in Brisbane after being denied the opportunity in Redlands.

Originally, the couple had entered 56 categories but that was dropped back after Peter withdrew from entering 15 preserves classes.

“The first time I was ready to enter a show, they cancelled it in Redlands and there hasn’t been one here since which is one of the reasons the Brisbane show holds a lot of appeal in Redlands,” Mr Rodgers said.

“We went to the Redlands show in 2008 and saw all the produce on display and decided to enter the next year, but then it was cancelled.

“This year, Megan was online and saw entries were closing and we looked at the categories and thought it would be fun to have a go at as many classes as we could handle.

“Originally, I was entered in 25 classes but when I realised the type of jars organisers stipulated to be used in the preserves section, I pulled out.

“The regulated jars are not preserve-suitable because they can’t be boiled in hot water, which is an essential part of the preserve process,” he said.

Peter will take two weeks off work before the Ekka to launch into his busy cooking schedule to make sure all his goodies are ready and fresh for the judges.

The household kitchen will be a flurry of action on Monday, August 5, the day before the cooking and baking sections will be judged.

Peter’s oven will be going all day as he plans to bake loaves of white, brown, wholemeal and grain breads along with a chocolate cake, madeira and banana cake.

The 41-year-old, who has a finger in nearly every pie at the Ekka, will also enter two pesto classes and two sauces and a savoury herb jelly.

He can make the sauces and pestos in advance but the three breads and three cakes will have to be baked the day before judging.

“I’m even considering leaving the breads to the day of the judging just to make sure they are truly fresh but I’ll see how I’m placed the night before,” he said.

“But I’ll be watching the Olympics as well as cooking on my time off – so it just depends on how inventive I get, which will determine when it will all be finished.

“I’m not a chef by profession but I do spent a lot of time in the kitchen experimenting cooking all sorts of foods.

“I have auditioned for Master Chef and a barbecue cooking show but this is the first time I’ve entered anything like this where I will be cooking a range of foods.

“I don’t really expect to win because there will be cooks who have entered every year for years and will have it down pat,” he said.

Although he has a plan and some secret ingredients for his bread, Peter is still unsure about what strategy to take with his herb jelly which he has never made before.

Peter said it was a good thing his wife had decided to enter non-cooking categories – otherwise there may have been “kitchen chaos”.

While Peter is in the kitchen using pots and pans, wife Megan will making pots in their pottery workshop in the garden.

Pottery became a passion for Megan after she finished her diploma in commercial art at Victoria’s Art Training Institute and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in ceramics.

When the couple moved to Ormiston in 2006, she insisted on building a firing kiln and her love of the craft blossomed.

“We bought a wheel and a kiln and then filled in half the carport to make a pottery shed which has been great fun.”

She has entered four pottery sections – a wheel piece, a hand-built piece, a piece with surface decoration and a novice section.

Megan, 42, who works with the state government’s Environment Department, is entering 31 categories ranging from quilling to paper tole, pottery, photography and scrapbooking.

Quilling is gluing long strips of coloured twirled paper into pictures and paper tole is making three-dimensional cards out of paper.

“Whether we win anything remains to be seen but we have entered a lot of categories,” Megan said.

“I never took classes in any of these crafts and all I know about these arts is from going to shows and Google.

“We have four god-children who often visit and they always want to do art and craft and play with the pottery wheel when they visit.

“In high school, I majored in art and when I did a Bachelor of Arts degree, I majored in ceramics and realised then that I wanted to develop my skills.”Hobbies are so important in life, which I believe begins at 40, and they have helped me and given me some form of escapism from reality when I’ve really wanted it,” Megan said.

HUSBAND-and-wife team Peter and Megan Rodger from Ormiston, hope to cook up a storm and bowl over judges at this year’s Ekka, entering a breath-taking 41 categories.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.