A culmination of two of her greatest loves – the way food looks, and the way it tastes, Zoe from Undressed Tablescapes creates intimate moments of nourishment and connection through food.
Imbued with her delightful eye for unique wares, Zoe’s abundant tablescapes are filled with purposeful and nourishing meals.
We spoke with Zoe about how she approaches table styling, her philosophy of non-restrictive food and a few of her favourite objects she surrounds herself with at her Melbourne home.
Where are you from and where are you now?
Well - if I were start from the very beginning; I was born in the UK, journeyed to Adelaide where I spent my childhood before moving to London after university (thank you British Passport!), then Sydney, then Byron Bay for a few years - and now I live in Fitzroy, Melbourne with my husband Richard with our friends & family nearby.
Three words that describe you.
Giving. Particular. Hungry.
When do you feel most yourself?Interestingly, I feel most like myself around others. I love to collaborate and be inspired by creative people by my side - generally in the kitchen, but also dreaming up ideas over morning coffee, or a couple of glasses of wine.
You have such a great eye for styling food, what are your essentials for tablescape styling?
That’s very kind, thank you. My advice for ‘essentials’ would simply be pieces that make you happy, I don’t think you need to start with a special kit or the basics - just start gathering the pieces you are most drawn to. They don’t have to be expensive either - op shops and Facebook marketplace are absolutely full of gems.
I rarely make practical decisions when collecting pieces for tablescapes; until recently I had about 100 plates and only two decent bowls! (It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife...should be the catch cry of my kitchen!)
Zoe's Kitchen. Image via @ilovelinen
You’ve worked with so many amazing brands and created countless memorable tablescapes, is there a standout project or event that you are particularly proud of?
I created a grazing table in Byron for Eye of Horus that I’m particularly proud of, I felt like I was really in my groove pulling it all together - and it was so perfectly complemented by the work of my favourite florists, Braer. I’ve also catered a few hens parties and they’re always such fun - in particular one I hosted with my friend Alex of Muddy at her gorgeous studio - I just love seeing women all together, eating, drinking, celebrating their love for each other (and their betrothed too, of course!) I’m also particularly proud of a series of recipes I created for VAHST store with sustainability and the joys of home-cooking in mind.
Your menus are predominantly vegetarian but promote versatility and abundance, have you always been passionate about creating nourishing food?Absolutely, my focus is vegetarian cuisine, with the hope that others may also appreciate and enjoy the abundance of nature through my cooking. To me, food is about rejoicing, not restricting, and the Undressed table is designed so that everyone is nourished. I’m definitely big on balance - nourishing food can take many, many forms; a green smoothie filled with kale, hemp seeds & almond milk is just as good for you (in my opinion!) as splitting open a scone laden with jam & cream with your dearest friend.
How did your journey with Undressed Tablescapes begin?
Undressed came to life during COVID, when I created hampers brimming with fresh produce and recipes for my friends to cook when they were in lockdown. For each recipe I included my own ‘undressed’ sauce free from gluten, refined sugar and dairy. This then took the form of a Produce Store, which I opened to the public from my home in Bangalow, offering the meal kits, sauces, homemade granola & sweets.
Today, it is a culmination of my two great loves – the way food looks, and the way it tastes. I offer recipe development, content creation, food & event styling, and private catering... that’s keeping
me pretty busy for now, but eventually I would love to release my own line of sauces and salad dressings – hence, the name, Undressed!
Braer x Undressed Tablescapes. Image by @smithclaudia
How do you enjoy creating ambience at home?
For me, one of life’s greatest indulgences is fresh flowers. They are worth every cent given the joy they bring to my days at home. The bigger the better, and I’ll showcase them in my favourite Clay by LB or Softedge vase. We’re preparing to have our first baby in a matter of weeks, so I’ve been spending a lot more time at home, and that means lighting incense or Flamingo Estate’s Roma Heirloom candle when I’m searching for calm, or playing a record when I need an afternoon pick- me-up.
Every surface at the moment is adorned with blankets, cushions, and cuddly rugs because at 9 months pregnant: comfort is key. I also love to create little food & drink rituals at home, a freshly baked cake and pot of tea if friends come to visit, or in lieu of a glass of wine at the moment, a citrus-spiked glass of filtered water, or my favourite T.I.N.A drinks. Dinner is served at the table, amongst the flowers, napkins & my favourite cutlery - unless it’s a Thursday and that means takeaway in front of the TV to watch And Just Like That - because that’s still pure romance to me!
What’s the last thing significant thing you bought for your home?
A beautiful sofa - moreover, piece of art - from local maker, Tilly Barber of Monde. When we first moved to Melbourne it felt right to purchase something that was made here. We opted for a two- seater, deep green in 100% wool. I knew this would be our home for quite some time, so I love that this piece of furniture can grow with us, and our spaces.
See more of Zoe's work at Undressed Tablescapes here.