RYLAN WOMEN: JULIA BUSUTTIL NISHIMURA
Julia Busuttil Nishimura is a Melbourne-based cook and author. Her work celebrates simple ingredients, seasonal produce, and the joys of coming together at the table. Julia's cooking is influenced by her Maltese heritage, the distinctive ebb and flow of Melbourne's seasons, and by her time spent living in Tuscany, where she learned the joys of the Italian kitchen. She is a regular contributor to publications such as Good Weekend, Good Food, The Design Files, and ABC Everyday. Julia is the author of two bestselling cookbooks – ‘Ostro’ and ‘A Year of Simple Family Food’ – and has recently launched her third – ‘Around The Table’. She lives with her husband, Nori, and two children.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR CAREER AS CELEBRATED COOK AND AUTHOR?
"I love sharing my love of good food with people – particularly with those that I hold close to my heart. It’s so rewarding to see how my recipes weave into the lives of others - how they become aligned to traditions and rituals that bring people together."
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING A MOTHER?
"The deep, unconditional love I feel for my boys, is truly one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced. Motherhood challenges you in the most unexpected ways, but it makes you stronger and wiser."
MALTESE COOKING IS BASED ON?
"A rustic, Mediterranean island-inspired food culture characterised by the breathtaking waters that surround it. Maltese cuisine reflects Malta’s history - strong Italian influences that are complemented by French, Spanish, and other Mediterranean culinary traditions. It’s all about locally sourced produce, seasonal vegetables, and simple peasant-style cooking. It’s such a beautiful place to visit, and I love going back with my family to enjoy all the delights – the sights and the food!"
HOW HAS YOUR TUSCAN EXPERIENCE SHAPED YOU?
Living in Tuscany in my early twenties completely shifted the way I thought about food and cooking. I loved shopping for seasonal ingredients on a daily basis, and preparing beautiful, simple meals with good wine. The experience was never rushed, and I learned so much about how much joy food can bring.
WHAT DO ITALIANS DO BETTER?
"Cherish family time – appreciating life’s simple pleasures and savouring the moment."
DINING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS IS ABOUT?
"Good food, but not too fussy! For me, dining with family and friends is about special moments – I like to prepare a few simple dishes, that allow me to sit and enjoy the company of my guests. I also love a little interaction in the kitchen – inviting family and friends to assist with the preparation. Sitting at a table with special people is ‘golden’ – a lesson that has been forever heightened by the pandemic."
WHAT CAUSE INSPIRES YOU THE MOST?
"Social and climate justice in general, and particularly the rights of refugees and those seeking asylum."
IN JUST A FEW WORDS, HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR STYLE?
"Considered, comfortable, and quality focussed."
WHICH COLOUR DOMINATES YOUR WARDROBE?
"My wardrobe is dominated by a combination of classic black, brown, and navy. I often create an arresting contrast for this darker palette with a statement bag or earrings."
WHAT 3 WARDROBE BASICS DO YOU CONSIDER ESSENTIAL FOR FALL/WINTER?
- A good pair of black boots. I love a sturdy boot that can move effortlessly from day into night.
- A quality winter coat. I’m addicted to a recently purchased cashmere piece that I can work back with my entire Winter wardrobe.
- A statement, warm and cozy scarf for Melbourne’s icy mornings.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR RYLAN BAG?
"I love the shape of my Rylan bag – it’s polished mood and its versatility – the perfect bag to accompany me for a stroll to the markets, and to an evening dinner."
WHAT 3 BEAUTY ITEMS ARE A MUST-HAVE FOR YOUR BAG?
- Westman Atelier - Vital Skin Foundation & Concealer Stick for on-the-go touch-ups
- Tatcha Gold Spun Camellia Lip Balm – to keep my lips hydrated during the cooler months
- Aesop Ginger Flight Therapy. I love rolling this calming elixir onto my neck, temples, and wrists to create a sense of harmony.
DREAM ESCAPADE RIGHT NOW?
"Sicily to swim in the ocean and devour almond granita all day."
"Maison Marie Louis - No.04 Bois de Balincourt. It showcases a warm, woody aroma. Love!"
BEST PIZZA IN MELBOURNE?
"That is SO tough! But I do love Capitano in Carlton."
RESTAURANT HEADQUARTERS IN MELBOURNE?
WHAT’S THE SECRET TO COOKING PERFECT PASTA? (3 TIPS)
- Salt the pasta water adequately!
- Save some of the pasta water to help loosen the sauce.
- Cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes less than the packet says, toss into the pan with the sauce, and be sure to add a considered amount of the saved pasta water, to create the perfect consistency and finish cooking the pasta.
THREE ESSENTIAL ITEMS IN YOUR KITCHEN?
- Mortar and pestle
- A good quality kitchen knife
YOUR MOST TREASURED RECIPE?
"Aljotta - it’s a Maltese fish and rice soup – rich with flavours from the fish, herbs and lemon, that my Mum taught me how to make. She had never written down her mother’s recipe, so it was a really special experience to document the steps, and include it in my very first cookbook."
GOLD OR SILVER?
FAVOURITE AUSTRALIAN DESIGNER?
WORDS OF WISDOM?
"I love this quote by Italian Architect and Designer, Ettore Sottsass - his wife, Barbara Radice, allowed me to repurpose the quote in my second cookbook, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity - it completely encapsulates how I think about food, life, and joy."
“I also like food very much, but I never feel like a king or an emperor. I like simple food: spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce and garlic, green vegetables with good oil and vinegar, rice with very small and sweet peas, maybe asparagus with hard-boiled eggs, if it’s the season. I like to eat on a white and clean table near the sea, with friends telling stories and sailing boats travelling far away, up and down.”