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Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Essential Ingredient, Rozelle

essential ingredient ducks

EDIT: The Essential Ingredient has moved from Crows Nest to Rozelle. 

For someone whose every waking moment revolves around food, the Essential Ingredient always triggers an adrenalin rush when I walk through the door. I scan the store quickly with darting eyes: olive oils, verjuice, giant cooking blocks of Lindt, a wall of goodie-filled fridges, crockery, cookbooks, a wall of spatulas... argh!

I am torn between running from one section to the next with childish abandon, or slowly and methodically inspecting each shelf from start to finish.

There is more than enough here to keep a foodie occupied for hours. There are shelves of gourmet pickles and preserves; fry pans and spatulas in every conceivable size; commercial cookware in the section upstairs; and a whole aisle dedicated to cake decorating which has me in a dreamy sugar-coated reverie for at least ten minutes.



From the home-based mail-order business started by Don and Jan Hodgson in 1986, the Essential Ingredient first opened shop in Camperdown in 1990 before moving to its current bigger premises at Crows Nest in 2005. The Sydney store is now a franchise owned by Ruth Gaines with plans to eventually incorporate a cooking school.

turning slicer

I was very excited at seeing this turning slicer, a contraption I had hunted high and low for all over Japan during a trip there two years ago. Could I have perhaps just purchased it from the Essential Ingredient afterall?

I paid about $AU90 for it, if my memory serves me correctly. Here it was priced at about $AU300 [EDIT: Whoops. It's priced at $180 - curses to my inability to remember numbers]. It made those frenzied hand gesticulations with a Japanese/English dictionary all the more worth it.

pizza paddles

Commercial cooking utensils also excite me for some reason. It's a piece of dowel with a shovel on the end, but the fact that it's a pizza paddle makes my food-orientated heart skip a beat.


Oh, and my preferred browsing technique? Methodical inspection followed by random childish abandon. Why not have the best of both worlds?

The Essential Ingredient
477 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9439 9881

731-735 Darling Street, Rozelle, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9555 8300

Monday - Friday 9.30am - 5.30pm (till 8pm on Thursdays)

Saturday 9am-5pm
Sunday 10am-4pm

Also at
Essential Ingredient Melbourne
Prahran Market, Elizabeth Street
South Yarra, Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9827 9047
M-F 9am-5.30pm, Sat 8am-5pm, Sun 10am-4pm

Essential Ingredient Canberra
52 Giles Street, Kingston, Canberra
Tel: +61 (02) 6295 7148
M-F 10am-6pm, Sat 9am-4pm, Sun 10am-3pm

Essential Ingredient Newcastle
Shops 4, 5 and 6, The Junction Fair
200 Union Street, The Junction, Newcastle
Tel: +61 (02) 4962 3411

Essential Ingredient Tamworth
15 White Street, Tamworth
Tel +61 (02) 6766 5611

Essential Ingredient Albury
473A Dean Street, Albury
Tel: +61 (02) 6041 4111

Essential Ingredient Orange
205 Summer Street, Orange
Tel: +61 (02) 6361 8999
11 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 8/13/2006 04:18:00 pm


  • At 8/13/2006 4:57 pm, Blogger ragingyoghurt said…

    i wish it weren't Over The Bridge. i've been t the musty, crowded camperdown one, but this ones looks nice and shiny!

    i love the terrified vegetable running away from the veggie slicer!! SHOOM SHOOM!!

  • At 8/13/2006 8:59 pm, Blogger Jen said…

    Oh Helen, I too share your passion for E.I. I work not too far from there so I always go in and have a browse.
    I am the methodical, inspect every aisle slowly and carefully type.

    And that giant block of chocolate....my oh my, im in heaven!

  • At 8/13/2006 9:32 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh. My. God.

    Looks like the kind of store that would keep me occupied for days, as well as sapping every cent from my bank account! So dangerous, but so so good...

  • At 8/13/2006 10:44 pm, Blogger thanh7580 said…

    Three hundred is a lot for a vegetable slicer. I would invest my money in a good Wusthof knife instead and use that. Those Moroccan Tagines look so nice, the colours are so bright and vibrant. I must get a Tagine one day and try cooking a Beef or Lamb Tagine.

  • At 8/14/2006 7:28 am, Blogger Reb said…

    TEI is the work of the devil. I live closer to the old Camperdown one and I must say since it's moved by budget is looking a lot healthier beacuse I CAN'T RESIST buying a bag full of stuff when I go. Helen, please don't tell me you went there and purchased nothing. Or are you hiding a guilty bag full of secrets? :)

  • At 8/14/2006 8:46 am, Blogger Su-Yin -Décorateur said…

    oh mY!! Ive never been there before! I definitely need to check the place out! *sigh* if only crowsnest was easier to get to without a car...public transport for a girl whos never ventured much up north can get a little tricky. But EI is a good enough reason to try! haha
    THanks for the write up!

  • At 8/14/2006 1:13 pm, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Wow, a foodie's paradise.

    So many things for doing things for stuff you didn't know you needed.

    The turning slicer is on top of my list of things to buy from Japan next year.

  • At 8/14/2006 10:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We just got back from a weekend in Melbourne and my husband Dave was a guest chef for a cooking class at Essential Ingrediant down there.

    Such a great store - he's done classes for E.I here in Sydney as well.

    cheers Belinda :)

  • At 8/19/2006 4:51 am, Blogger Valentina said…

    What a fantastic store!! Whenever I make it to Sydney must pay it a visit.It will certainly be wonderful to browse in such a place.

  • At 4/01/2011 5:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Helen :D
    loving your blog <3 , also wanted to know if Essential Ingredient is still located in crows nest . i've never been there but looks like a must visit store .

    Emily xox

  • At 4/10/2011 2:06 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Emily - The Essential Ingredient has since moved to Rozelle. I've now updated the details above.


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