Terri-Anne Leske says she’s always been passionate about healthy living and teaching others to cook – having learned to cook from her own mother while growing up in a small fishing village called Bermagui in New South Wales, Australia.
But, it took moving to Singapore in 2012 with her husband, Tom, to motivate her to start a food blog, Carrotsticks and Cravings, to share recipes with family and friends back home.
Terri-Anne is also one of 23 winners of The Finder‘s 2018 Expatpreneur Awards.
Fast forward to 2014, and she’d published the first of three Carrotsticks and Cravings-branded cookbooks, including My Creative Kitchen, Family Favourites and Green Week. This last October, she opened the doors to her very own cafe in lush Loewen Gardens. “It is very empowering to see something you’ve dreamt about become a reality,” says Terri-Anne.
Though she claims her previous career experience in marketing was “completely unrelated” to what she’s doing now, it likely gave her the know-how to grow her brand once she started the original blog.
“I was terrible at the actual blogging part, but people seemed to love the recipes,” she recalls. “In 2014, I decided I’d better upgrade from my iPhone photos and teach myself how to use a proper camera.”
These days, Carrotsticks and Cravings has more than 11,000 social media fans, who enjoy both Terri-Anne’s luscious-looking food photos as well as her escapades as an active mother of 5-year-old twins and a 3-year-old daughter.
“The cookbooks were a breeze!” she says, comparing writing her recipe collections to opening the cafe. From renovating and staffing the restaurant to having to completely change the menu in the first week (“we just couldn’t keep up the initial set up,” she confesses), she says she didn’t get much sleep or time with her kids during its first few months – and she’s still seeking to find balance. But, she notes, “The time I do have at home is much more quality time.”
One of the most gratifying parts of running the cafe? That she can channel her creativity into changing up the menu daily, decorating the cafe in “all things pink and white” and more. “We have many loyal customers who return back daily or weekly,” she shares, “and the staff I have now feels like family.”
Carrotsticks and Cravings
75E Loewen Rd, 248845
By Sara Lyle Bow, The Finder Issue 292
More on The Finder:
Meet the Winners of The Finder Expatpreneur Awards 2018!
Don’t miss out! Like our Facebook page for event updates and more.