Legendary Gas Gals praise FareShare meals that ‘awaken the senses’

The ‘Gas Gals’ who taught a generation of Victorians to cook reunited in the FareShare kitchen after 35 years.  

Long before Masterchef, the Gas Cookery Service team of home economists ran mass cooking classes, school programs and an expert advisory service. In the pre-Google era, the team fielded more than 100 calls a day from home cooks – often in dire straits, mid recipe.

Herald Sun photo 29.04.92
Gas Gals Meredith Schier and Naomi Crisante featured in the Herald Sun in 1994.
Meredith and Naomi together again in the FareShare kitchen.

Naomi Crisante, who reformed the team for a FareShare shift, said a feeling of love, connection and happiness radiated from FareShare meals. “They are meals that awaken the senses!”

The nine Gas Gals, all still avid cooks, were supervised by FareShare chef Shu Wei Ho as they nimbly transformed ingredients into a “restaurant quality” salmon dish.

“Back in the day Aussies were very much eating meat and three vegetables – overcooked-meat with over-cooked vegetables,” said Naomi. “Over the past 35 years the Asian and Mediterranean influence has resulted in a combination of flavours, bold colours, crisp vegetables and the addition of spices, herbs, garlic and chilli. All of these are being used by FareShare chefs.

“We prepared a tomatillo sauce on smoked paprika-marinated salmon with creamy mash and crunchy broccoli – bright, fresh and innovative. It was balanced and nutritious. It had flavour, texture and colour. A delicious meal that anyone would sit down to and enjoy.

“To think that we produced almost a thousand meals of this quality impressed us all.”

Gas Gals in FareShare kitchen 220423 (2)
Gas Gals (from left): Trish Mckenzie, Jane Boras, Pam Tannourji, Meredith Schier, Lisa O'Shannessy, Robyn MacGill, Melanie Ryan, Naomi Crisante & Belinda Page, with FareShare chef Shu Wei Ho.

The Gas Cookery Service operated from the mid Seventies until 1995 when the Gas and Fuel Corporation, once a government entity, was privatised.

Over the years, the expert team needed to be as light on their feet, creative and adept at troubleshooting as FareShare chefs.

They never knew what to expect when the advice line rang. Naomi picked up a call to solve an interesting problem one day.

“I can’t get my cake out of the tin.”

“What did you line it with?”

“Well, glad wrap…!”

More than three decades on, much has changed but homestyle cooking still has the power to transform lives over a meal and show that somebody cares. 

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