For this Meet A Program Maker, We sat down with Caroline Rowe, the creator of the popular Just4Me Bake Club series to talk about her start as a cook, the inspiration for the Just4Me Bake Club, and her new Just4Me Cooking Show coming soon to Channel 44.
Starting out, Caroline didn’t have the “rich food history” that you might expect from a TV chef. With a mother who was cursed in the kitchen, Caroline had to make her own way as a cook, relying mostly on cookbooks to teach herself.
“I won a book prize at high school and I used the prize money to buy what was the definitive cookbook at the time which was chronically expensive, but fabulous” explained Caroline.
When describing her start as a cook she gave a lot of credit to the Time-Life cookbook series, saying that they were “revolutionary in their time, in that the first half of the book was all technique and the second half of the book was recipes, and it was photographs of how to do things, like step by step photographs of how to do all this classic cooking. I had that series as a 20-year-old, and again, chronically expensive but I collected them and loved them, and so learnt to cook from those”.
As a self described “natural born teacher”, she took quickly to teaching cooking when she got a job with Thermomix, demonstrating some of the recipes you can make with their product. It was here that she got the idea for the Just4Me Bake Club.
“I got into the world of Thermomix. I had to learn all the recipes we demonstrated by heart in those days, we didn’t have all the digital technology that’s there now. In learning the recipes I had to practice them; I was making risotto for 6 and beetroot salad for 6 and eating the same thing every night and going ‘this is ridiculous. I’m so over this, there has to be smaller recipes'”.
While this was happening, she was also grading university marketing papers, which is where she found the inspiration for her first book.
“It was then I read some ABS(Australian Bureau of Statistics) data in the marketing work I was doing at the uni that said nearly a quarter of the households in Australia are one-person households and I went ‘woah I’m not the only freak that cooks for herself’ and if you add in two person households it’s 60% of households in Australia, yet recipes in the food world always focus on big.” This was the origin of her first Thermomix cookbook, Cooking For Me and You: Recipes for One or Two.
This all lead to her idea for the Just4Me Bake Club, A show for single person households to learn how to bake in smaller, more appropriate serving sizes.
Due to her success with the Bake Club, Caroline is pioneering a new show for Channel 44 called the Just4Me Cooking Show. The show aims to focus not only on recipes, but also on easy strategies to reduce food waste and eat better when you’re cooking for one.
“I’m pretty excited to be sharing a lot of tips and tricks and practical advice on what to do. One of the challenges in not wasting is that if you talk to food warriors they want you to completely reinvent your lifestyle and give you the guilts about how everything you do is wrong, where what I’ve discovered is, if I just change a couple of tiny things I can prevent waste and I can keep doing that next week and then the week after, then I can add another one. I want it to be small everyday tips that are going to encourage people to do things, not shame them into doing something”.
In her new series Caroline will be talking to experts about some of the things you can do to reduce food waste and live a more sustainable life.
“I’m really excited to talk to some of the food scientists about storage, how do I store food? because one of the challenges people have is ‘I don’t know how to store things’ they just say in airtight containers but what is the best way of storing it?”
To watch episodes of Just4Me Bake Club click here.
Just4MeCooking will be coming to Channel 44 in 2021.
If you want to follow Caroline on her food journey follow her on: