Extraordinary Routines: Hetty McKinnon
Hetty McKinnon is known for her love and creation of fresh delicious salads. In 2011, Hetty moved on from public relations to make impressive vegetable creations from her home kitchen, and delivered them personally around her neighbourhood.
Arthur Street Kitchen was born and Hetty’s salads were soon selling out. I am not personally a massive fan of the classic side salad, especially when they consist mainly of leaves; I am more of a lover of a salad with substance, packed with sweet potato, roast veggies, grains, avocado, cucumber, beans, feta, etc. I believe that Hetty’s success was in part due to the delicious recipes, chargrilled broccoli with smashed chickpeas and dukkah or even edamame with baby bok choy, quinoa and honey-ginger dressing for example. It is also Hetty’s infectious enthusiasm that played a significant role in their popularity.
It was the promise of personal exchanges that motivated Hetty to deliver sometimes over eighty salads around her neighbourhood; this is something I find very inspiring. She was doing something she loved and using this to create connections and positive relationships around the community. “I wanted to know every person that I was delivering to. Some people didn't get it and would ask, ‘Why don't you just get someone to deliver for you?’”
This is a question that also occurred to me when I discovered Hetty’s work load. The majority of other businesses would have wanted to take over Sydney with their products and ultimately make the most revenue possible. However Hetty is aspirational in my opinion because to her, it was all about creating a service to her community with the ultimate aim of sharing stories and laughter. This, in my opinion, is more beneficial than any amount of profit generated.
Hetty is as busy as ever; there’s the co-working space for food lovers, a little community kitchen called Neighbourhood Studio Hetty co-founded with her good friend Jodi Moreno. If I worked freelance, I would definitely want to find a spot to base myself where I could do my work each day. If I constantly worked from home, I feel that this could get quite lonely at times and I would become inactive. This is the same for Hetty, she wanted to find a space where she could cook street food, have pop-up food events, and also a community space. She describes that space as a ‘...co-working space, but a co-cooking space instead.”
As well as this, she recently released the Preddler Journal, the multicultural food journal that celebrates the non-trend driven, slower moments of food. On top of this the usual array of brainstorming recipes, maintaining the Arthur Street Kitchen journal, and photoshoots have to be also kept up to date.
When asked in an interview about how she manages to execute so many things at one time, Hetty says; “I don't ever overthink anything that I do. Everything happens very organically – to use that overused cliché! But I suppose before when I was in PR, things weren’t.”
Therefore, not overthinking creative ideas may be the key to seeing them through. I am a massive over thinker and I have a tendency to over analyse everything. This results in some of my ideas being stifled by fear of failure, financial stress or other worries.
I really admire Hetty’s thinking and it is something that I aim to keep in my mind as I move forward; “I don't want the money to be the reason I do or don’t do things. It's not like I'm making a lot of money, but I never think about that as the end.” I love that she started Arthur Street because she wanted to share something that she really likes with other people; it just happens that she turned it into a business while she was doing it. This, I feel, is what makes her business seem so organic, authentic and relatable.
As a result of Hetty being constantly begged for recipes by current consumers, Hetty initially self-published her first cookbook Community. I feel that the name again says it all, she wanted to be open and share something with other people. Her second cookbook, Neighbourhood, reflects her and the business’ origins.
Now that the books are providing Hetty with a steady income; this is what allows her to invest this money into doing other creative things. Out of doing something she loves, she now gets to do other things which are something I feel that we can all learn from.