Drawing on over 20 years of diverse experiences that have seen her create everything from $10 counter meals to $200 per head fine dining extravaganzas, Naomi Lowry has the magic touch when it comes to cooking food that people simply love to eat.
As the Executive Chef and co-owner of Culina Et Vinum, Naomi has honed her unique style that fuses European flavours with a modern interpretation of classic family recipes and time-honoured cooking methods. Naomi’s hearty yet refined, comforting and tantalising fare is ‘finessed not fine dining’, resulting in a menu to stir the imagination and the heart.
Born in London and spending time in Zimbabwe and the USA, Naomi was exposed to a diverse range of cuisines from a young age. Naomi’s Grandmother also spent a lot of time travelling internationally as her husband was a RAFF pilot. Over the years she gathered collections of recipes from around the world and gifted Naomi with her extensive recipe file, which Naomi still treasures and refers to, along with an ever-expanding library of cooking books.
Naomi’s lifelong dream to open her own venue has now been realised with Culina Et Vinum – a place she hopes will become a neighbourhood institution where everyone is always welcome to indulge, relax and enjoy. Culina Et Vinum is the culmination of Naomi’s wide and varied culinary experience as well as her extensive knowledge of historical techniques and recipes. Culina Et Vinum enables Naomi to explore her passion for classic, generously portioned European style dishes, using the finest local, seasonal and ethically sourced ingredients to create unexpected yet memorable flavours. Based on the early success of Culina Et Vinum it’s fair to say Naomi’s culinary journey is only just beginning.
Meet Naomi Lowry…
What made you become a chef?
I have always loved cooking! I started as soon as I could reach the stove top – with the aid of my beautiful Grandma. Food has always been a big part of my life – coming from a big family it was something that we always gathered together to do. Sunday lunches were EPIC! Both my Grandma and Mother were the epitome of “the hostess” and their dinner parties were anywhere between 3-6 courses (cooked by them) with me and my sister in matching dresses being the waitresses – and then coming back to the kitchen and sneaking all the leftover food. So eating stinky cheeses, lobster, rich desserts, rare beef begun at a very early age! You can never get bored in this industry, as you can never learn it all – there are always evolving techniques and food trends.
Travelling has been a big part of your background. Living in various countries around the world. How has this helped you become the chef you are today?
Mainly it opened my eyes to a variety of foods and produce.
Recently opening Culina Et Vinum, what inspires you when coming up with new dishes?
The seasons, my Grandma’s recipe file (its tucked away in my office under lock and key 😉 ), local/Australian produce
At home, in the kitchen, what is your comfort meal to make?
If it’s just me then I like to go get a cheese board (the stinkier the better!), some pate and crusty bread. If there’s friends/flatmates involved, then it’s a roast dinner – got that from my mum! Both going with a nice bottle of red
Favorite dish at Culina Et Vinum?
“Grandma’s Scones” – it’s her scone recipe and reminds me of the times spent at my grandparent’s house in Wales.
Those that haven’t had the chance to experience Culina Et Vinum, what can they expect when dining?
Rustic food with a twist, and refined
Lots of wine to pick from – both by the glass and bottle
Comfort – in the food, wine and ambience
Who has been the biggest mentor in your career?
Other than my Grandma…. I would say my time spent at Pilu – Giovanni Pilu and Dan Mulligan – and my time at Biota as James’ head chef – learning about growing the veggies, taking pigs to the abattoir etc….
Coffee or Tea? How do you have it?
Tea of course – I am British after all…. Earl Grey with a drop of milk
kitchen opening hours
Lunch 12pm-3pm • Dinner 6pm-10pm
Breakfast Saturday & Sunday 8am-11.30am
Shop 1, 19-23 Elizabeth Bay Rd
Elizabeth Bay, NSW 2011