BRIGID Corcoran never imagined she'd open a native bush food café in Ballarat.
It took more than a decade of working in community development and hospitality for the food lover to consider opening her own cafe.
"In my community development role I worked with women in small villages and the most effective way to get an outcome was at the dinner table," she said.
"Because we were so different coming together, discussions were best had at the table."
Ms Corcoran dined with women in Ethiopia, Kenya and Thailand.
"That got me thinking, if those women came to my dinner table, what would they want me to share about my culture?"
Saltbush Kitchen opened at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E) three months ago.
The cafe serves food and drinks far from the stereotypical 'busk tucker'. Don't worry, you will not find witchetty grubs or damper on the menu.
"We don't do bush tucker as such, (bush tucker) has a lot of meanings I guess," she said.
"It's contemporary food that we are all really quite used to, like sandwiches or salads, and what I put into that food is bush food flavours."
Wattleseed sugar, pepperberry salt, aniseed myrtle sugar and strawberry gum are some of the ingredients that feature heavily in Ms Corcoran's cooking.
The passionate foodie wanted to make Saltbush Kitchen's dining experience familiar for people.
"I wanted people to be comfortable when exploring a new kind of food," she said.
"Some people still have a cautious reaction, but it's all been real positive."
Saltbush Kitchen's menu is simple, fresh and rotates weekly.
There's the tasting plate, complete with a bush tomato dip, Sebastian Jurcan's Country Style Smallgoods' salami and ham and Ballarat Mushroom Farm's marinated mushrooms.
Homemade crumpets with macadamia nut butter, plum jam, fresh peaches and ice cream are also a hit with customers.
Even the drinks menu, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, dabbles with bush flavours.
The strawberry gum soda is made with a gum leaf syrup. It can also be made with gin for those wanting that extra kick.
Ms Corcoran said the popular iced wattleseed drinks tasted like iced coffee.
Pot plants dotting the perimeter of the café double as Ms Corcoran's herb garden.
Yendon Gourmet Tomatoes, Country Style Smallgoods, Ballarat Mushroom Farm, The Pomegranate Tree, Grounded Pleasures and Spring Creek Organics supply produce to the cafe.
Some of the cafe's native bushfoods are sourced locally from Ballarat Wild Plants.
"People have really liked it. We know we have repeat customers and we get a really good mix coming in," she said.
"We get mums and kids to people who want to have a glass or wine and relax."
On a sunny day Saltbush Kitchen's green lawn is filled with red and white checkered picnic rugs or coloured bean bags.
Ms Corcoran hopes to host information sessions about bush foods in the future.
"We are doing events and catering in house at M.A.D.E and also wanting to undertake some informal, low key sessions where people can learn more about bush spices and maybe make some things," she said.
Her line of pantry staples, including biscuits, jams and teas, are also sold in store.
AT A GLANCE:
WHAT: Saltbush Kitchen.
WHERE: 102 Stawell Street South, Ballarat, inside the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E).
TIME: Open Monday to Friday 10.30am to 3.30pm and weekends 9.30am to 4pm.