Who is Claire Black? I’m a local. I was born and raised here in Coota (Cootamundra). I’ve had the business (E’Claire’s) for almost 11 years now. When I was about 21 years old, I was working here and the people who previously owned it were going to sell it. I decided to buy it to see how it goes, and 11 years later, it’s still going. My future goals and aspirations are to stay open for longer and expand. I always think about franchising. It will still be in the regional area, so it’s drivable.
Best recent dining experience: Best recent dining experience would have to be Milky Lane in Canberra.
Favourite cuisine: My favourite cuisine is Italian – definitely pizza and pasta.
The ingredient I cannot live without: I can’t live without chocolate.
Most embarrassing pantry item: It’s probably something I haven’t even noticed that’s in there (the pantry).
How many Weet-Bix do you do? I do four Weet-Bix.
Best coffee spot in Cootamundra: The best coffee spot in Cootamundra is here at E’Claire’s.
Favourite coffee: I like a small almond flat white.
What’s your coffee blend? Our blend is from Orange Roasting Co.
What’s the weirdest coffee order you’ve received? There’s been some weird ones. People just keep adding ingredients to their orders, like a mocha with caramel syrup or soy milk.
Next big thing in the Cootamundra food scene: I reckon we’re close to putting a fast-food place somewhere or a drive-through. There should be something coming soon to Cootamundra.
Favourite place to lunch in Cootamundra: I don’t go out for lunch because I’m always here. For dinner, I go to the Albion or Central (hotels).
A must-try on our menu: A must-try would have to be our hamburgers. They are pretty good, if I do say so myself.
Your top pick from your desserts: My favourite picks from our desserts are the caramel fruit slice and the honeycomb cheesecake.
Biggest culinary influence: I probably get that from my Nan. From a young age, I would go around to Nan’s place and cook with her. A few of our slice recipes come from her.
Favourite cookbook: I don’t really have a favourite cookbook. I have a cookbook that has everyone’s recipes in it. It’s more like a homemade one.
What are this week’s specials at E’Claire’s? We swap our weekly specials around. This week’s special is our peri peri chicken burger.
Death-row meal: I do love lasagne. And I’ll have a passion shoot. It’s like a smoothie.
Where are you travelling to next? I’m going down to see my brother in Shellharbour.
Dream destination: My dream destination is the Cook Islands.
My biggest fear: Heights and spiders.
My least favourite food: I don’t like anything with ginger or coriander in it.
My top-three cooking tips: My tips would be … stick to what you are good at. Don’t walk away from the stove with a timer, and experiment with your dishes.