Alisa has intense passion for food
ALISA Mayne-Dacy is so passionate about what she does, she is both happy and excited to get up before 5am every Saturday and go to work.
It may sound crazy but Alisa's early starts are not just about a job.
They are the culmination of a dream that was eight years in the making.
They also represent an opportunity for Alisa to be creative and share her passion for food, which she has had since childhood and she says stems from her mother.
"I grew up cooking," Alisa said.
"Mum was always testing recipes on me.
"She's so passionate about good food and now I am, too."
Alisa's mum Cynthia has written several cookbooks and they have produced three together.
While Alisa tried other careers and enjoyed them, her heart was always in the kitchen.
While working in various countries, she often dreamt of having her own business providing good, healthy meals made with love.
She finally took the plunge and started Love My Food, with business partner Deby McLennan.
Love My Food provides healthy frozen home-cooked meals free from all additives, preservatives and trans fats, but Alisa says the most important thing is that they are all made in a happy kitchen.
The most important ingredients in everything she makes are love (hence the name of the company) and fresh, local produce.
"I have always passionately believed in local food," Alisa said.
"All my meals are made from local food.
"Not only does it taste better, it also helps the local community."
She hopes that by the end of this month, all products in their frozen meal range will come from the Big Pineapple's Saturday markets, where she has a stall.
Even though she has to get up at 4.50am every Saturday after working all week, Alisa says she loves the revitalised markets.
"I'm so excited about the markets. They give us the biggest high," she said.
"The energy and feedback make the early starts worth it.
"We have a great relationship with all the stallholders and every
one is really passionate about what they are producing."
The markets, which returned to the Big Pineapple at the end of last year, offer a range of products from fruit and vegetables to cakes and biscuits from local businesses.
Alisa said she believed the markets were starting a food revolution on the Coast, allowing customers access to beautiful fresh ingredients.
"I no longer need to go to the supermarket. I get everything I need from the market," Alisa said.
"A lot of customers also buy everything they need. It's fresher, tastes better and I think it could be cheaper."
Alisa believes so strongly in the produce at the markets, she sourced all of the food for her recent wedding from stallholders.
She created hampers full of fresh market produce for each of the courses and the guests were given menus so they knew the origin of what they were eating.
Alisa said the markets gave her the chance to use her creative side.
"I never would have started my new ranges without them," she said.
The new ranges, which are only available at the markets, include hampers for two, cafe-style muffin mixes and sweet and savoury dukkahs.
Alisa said the markets offered more than just good food.
"It's not just shopping, but a morning out," she said.
"There's more to do than spend.
"There's entertainment including music and coffee shops.
"Visitors can also try the beautiful food and go on a mini food tour.
"It's great fun and it's as fun for us to serve the customers as it is for them to come."
For more, visit Love My Food at www.lovemyfood.net.