Author: Emily Hutchinson

Louise Macdonald – The Milliner

Name: Louise Macdonald Occupation: Milliner Years of Experience: 24 It’s the busiest time of the year for milliner Louise Macdonald, who can be found in her studio, located in the historic Nicholas Building, preparing for this year’s racing season. Colourful ribbons are in full stock, the sewing machine positioned by the window is buzzing away and clients are coming in and out collecting what will be the cherry on top of their perfect outfits. Macdonald takes this all in her stride – she is old hat at this (pun intended), with 24 years of experience creating unique headpieces for women to steal the show with. It all began in England in the late 1980s when Macdonald began a short course in millinery. Her day job required little creativity and making hats provided her with the perfect creative outlet. She later specialised in costume millinery and was offered her first role as a qualified milliner in 1990 with a period costume company. During this time, she made hats for popular TV shows and films including the BBC series of …

Michael and Etsuko Clonaris – The Origamist Couple

Name: Michael and Etsuko Clonaris Age: Michael is 60 years old Etsuko is 66 Occupation: Origamists Years of Experience: Combined 60 years It’s quite rare to find someone who identifies themselves professionally as an origamist – it’s even rarer when two of them find each other. Michael and Etsuko Clonaris are the couple who bonded over their love of origami in 1985 and have been folding together ever since. The duo met while Etsuko was touring Australia as a student. She started making origami during her childhood in Japan and loved it, having no idea it could one day make her money. “A friend from Kyoto who had travelled to the US told me that I could earn some extra pocket money from teaching origami – I thought it was a great idea,” she says. It was through Michael’s sister, who was tutoring Etusko in English, that their paths crossed. “I had just completed making 1,000 cranes as a zen exercise… Etsuko had a book on origami which fascinated me – we resolved to do origami together” says Michael. The couple married …

Lindel Barker-Revell – The Tea Leaf Reader

Name: Lindel Barker-Revell Age: 66 years old Occupation: Tea Leaf Reader Years of Experience: Approximately 36 years One of Lindel Barker-Revell’s most striking qualities is her positive energy – and who wouldn’t be positive with a job that involves sitting down for a chat with a superb cup of tea? Having previously studied tarot card reading and astrology, Barker-Revell was seeking a new challenge and was introduced to tea leaf reading at the age of 30. She was drawn to it by a fascination with why things happen to people and a passion for tea. “I absolutely love it, every cup is different, just like every person is different,” she says. She learned from a woman who she worked with at a shop called The Crystal Ball, “when we were alone in the shop together, we would pour a cup of tea and read each other’s cups,” says Barker-Revell. She immediately fell in love with it and began to immerse herself in studying the symbols and working on her story-telling abilities. She originally read for friends in Chinese restaurants where they would …

Jim Baruta – The Coffee Roaster

Name: Jim Baruta Age: 58 years old Occupation: Coffee Roaster Years of Experience: 26 Melbourne and quality coffee go hand in hand and locals expect nothing but the best when paying top dollar for their favourite brew. Sure, the barista plays a big role in the process, but some would argue that the true star of the show is the coffee bean. Master Roaster, Jim Baruta, has been roasting for 26 years at Quists Coffee. Part of the lengthy Quists Coffee history, that dates back to 1938 as one of Melbourne’s original coffee roasting houses, Baruta joined in 1989. Previously working in electronics, taking on the role of a head roaster wasn’t as big of a change as one may think, “I analyse everything – I experiment with things and figure out how to make things work,” he says. “That’s really what roasting is about – it’s very scientific actually. A lot of people say it’s an art, but that’s because they don’t understand the science behind it.” As Melbourne’s obsession with coffee grew over …

Grant Miller – The Surfboard Shaper

When Grant Miller chose a career in surfboard shaping, he never imagined it was a passion he could turn into a successful business. After 36 years, he has experienced the highs and lows of the industry and has become a master craftsman to be inspired by. Miller began surfing at the age of 11 in Sydney’s picturesque Northern Beaches. He recalls his first time standing on a surfboard he had borrowed from one of the older kids on the beach as the moment he knew there was nothing else in life he wanted to do. “I was just totally hooked! I was catching waves for the rest of that afternoon and eventually, the boy who I’d borrowed the board off had to swim out and ask for it back,” says Miller. Using any downtime between classes at school to catch some waves, Miller eventually started to compete professionally and was sponsored by Hot Buttered Surfboards and competed in international waters including Hawaii, England, France and New Zealand. “I learnt a bit about surfboard design during …

Adan Abrahanowic – The Argentinian Barbecuer

It’s always a busy night at Sydney’s famous Argentinian restaurant, Porteño, and the man behind all the action is Adan Abrahanowic. Barbecuing full lamb and suckling pig carcasses on the traditional asado (fire pit), Adan uses his expertise learnt from his South American upbringing to feed the hungry crowds of Surry Hills. Adan is 64 and began cooking with the asado and the parrilla (barbecue) as soon as he was old enough to feel confident with the open flames. “I always loved gauchos (cowboys) with the fires, the horses, everything like that and I think that was part of why I wanted to learn about cooking this way,” he says. He cooked in this style across restaurants in Argentina and Sydney, where he moved to in 1974. He gave up barbecuing for some time, saving his skills only for special occasions with family and friends and pursued his other skilled craft of glass cutting.”My original job was cutting crystal and I really miss doing it,” Adan explains. “When I used to cut glass and crystal when I …

Aunty Beryl – The Queen of Bush Tucker

Aunty Beryl has been cooking bush food since her childhood in Walgett, New South Wales and knows a thing or two about making a meal from the land. Now in her 70s, her diverse career in the kitchen has spanned over 50 years. In her 20s, Aunty Beryl moved from rural New South Wales, to work as a Nanny for a family in Sydney. It was during this time that she decided to pursue her underlying passion for food. “I never wanted to do anything else,” she says. “I loved to cook and I knew that there would always be employment in the hospitality industry.” To kickstart her career in the kitchen, she worked at Wunanbiri Preschool as the cook and later began a course in food technology at TAFE. After graduating in 1980, she was asked by the university to remain as a teacher which she did for 15 years. In 2006 Aunty Beryl was invited to run courses at Yaama Dhiyaan Hospitality Training College. Working five days a week, she has seen many students from aged 17-60 …

Hervé Boutin – The French Chocolate Maker

Hervé Boutin is the chocolate maker from rural France whose 35-year career has taken him on a whirlwind adventure across the globe. From working in the fast-paced kitchens of Paris to luxurious five-star hotels in Asia, his continuing love affair with chocolate is an inspiring tale. Settling in Sydney in 1990, Boutin now teaches baking trades at The Illawarra Institute of Wollongong (part of TAFE New South Wales) to young and eager pastry chefs wanting to launch into their own careers. When he isn’t teaching, Boutin practices his well-rehearsed skills making chocolates at Lixie Chocolaterie. He can regularly be found in the open-plan kitchen whipping, piping and decorating our favourite indulgent treats. His story starts in south-east France where he grew up on a farm with his grandmother, grandfather and younger sister, “when you live on a farm, you find that all your primary ingredients surround you,” Boutin says. “Whether it’s the vegetables you dig up from the ground, or the poor chickens and rabbits that unfortunately end up on the frying pan, you see everything …

Welcome to ‘The Wise at Work’

Do you remember when your parents used to ask you, “now, what do you want to be when you grow up?” Maybe they’re still asking the same thing. Many of us go through life not identifying with what we’ve chosen to do for 40 hours of the week. So when you come across someone who has devoted themselves to become the master of their own trade, it’s something worth sitting up and paying attention to. ‘The Wise at Work’ tells the stories of those who have over 20 years experience in their trade – who have been fortunate enough to find something they love to do and make money from it. Be inspired by the adventures their careers have taken them on and who knows, maybe you will learn a thing or two in the process.