Australia, Q + A

Vanessa Rowe and ‘The Low Flying Duck’

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GRAPHIC DESIGNER, VANESSA ROWE, is the founder of The Low Flying Duck, a blog that captures her everyday experiences living with Coeliac disease. JournoNews spoke with her.

Why the name, The Low Flying Duck?

The name of the site originates from the very Australian and irreverent saying: “Iʼm so hungry I could eat the crotch out of a low flying duck”. It was suggested by one of my best friends after a couple of cocktails during a Japanese degustation meal. I now privately refer to her as Mother Duck. I donʼt think she minds.

What prompted you to set up the blog?

I set up the Low Flying Duck to share my new experiences of living with Coeliac disease, which I was diagnosed with in 2009. Initially I found the diet left me feeling quite sad and frustrated – particularly when I was eating out. Iʼd eaten whatever I wanted for my entire life – so to remove some much loved parts of it was difficult. The moment I started writing about the experience and enjoying the creative process of taking interesting food pics, my perspective on being Coeliac changed. Also itʼs provided a welcome break for my partner who was hearing way too often and too much about my insides and diet.

What sort of response have you had? Were you surprised at the interest?

Iʼve had an amazing, positive response to the site, and yes, I was surprised at the level of interest. People are sharing such great stories, recipes and ideas with me – itʼs brought a whole new depth to my own life, and hopefully I can inspire and share in return.

What inspires you?

Creativity. A desire to learn. Motivated people – in any profession. Passionate people. My family. Eating simple fresh stuff. Eating complicated stuff. Music – every kind everywhere.

Have you ever had a really bad restaurant experience?

I consider myself very lucky, as Iʼve yet to have a really bad restaurant experience. And the number of ʻbadsʼ could be listed on one hand. Over the years Iʼve kept something akin to a food diary/sketchbook – where Iʼve done quick food reviews. Either after an amazing, or in a few cases – amazingly average experience. I just found an entry in one of these diaries that just said DINNER DISASTER, with the word ‘disturbing’ after it. Followed by ʻnot even worth describingʼ. I canʼt recall what I ordered or where it was – but thinking about it – it must have been really bad to warrant that damning review.

What sublime meal comes to mind?

This is such a great question and has me mentally leafing through the years to pull out memories of sublime meals. And there have been many. The Char-grilled salt-crusted rib eye at the Icebergs in Bondi is up there in my top special occasion meals. Itʼs the kind of meal you starve yourself for all day, so you can dedicate your full stomach to it. The meat was melt in your mouth tender, and served with their luxurious mash – definitely equating to sublime. Iʼm not sure if itʼs still on the menu, but the recipe is in Maurice Terziniʼs cookbook ʻSomething Italianʼ. I will always have a permanent food memory of this dish.

Favourite things to do?

Projects. I love projects. Creative ones. The usually involve photography, design or food. I also love feeling healthy and fit. I’m a late bloomer runner – I started when I turned 40. I figure just go for it whilst the knees and body can hack it. Actually a run followed by a jump in the ocean is pretty favourite. I also love great coffee, watching my kids do impromptu dance performances in my high heels, reading, a good chat, watching sunrises/sunsets, being in the ocean and my regular weekly social rituals with my beautiful buddies and family.

Your photographs are beautiful – photography is clearly a passion?

Thank you! Yes – I have loved photography since I was a teenager – which was back in the dark ages I mean dark room age. My interest in photography gets greater every week – there is so much to learn and so much great material accessible now. I am lucky to have an amazing photographer as one of my best friends – who has helped and inspired me. He also has secretly managed to guide my partner towards great camera gear as birthday and Christmas presents – something I am very grateful for.

Holiday destination wish list?

• France (some hopeful planning underway)

• The Nordic countries – never been but always wanted to.

• NZ – also never been (itʼs so close and beautiful) and need to go.

• New York – I might have a mid-life crisis soon if I donʼt get there. Being in transit there doesn’t count.

• Hawaii – I’ve been told I need to go. Sounds good to me.

• Bali – I’ve been so many times but for complete relaxation, beautiful surroundings and shopping, I always love it.


Run, swim, draw, read, shoot, cook, eat, dance. Oh and sustained, unbroken sleep is a hobby Iʼm working towards as my kids get older.

Where to next?

Short term Iʼm focusing on learning as much as I can about gluten free cooking, food photography and blogging. And eating outside my postcode. Long term – wherever the Duck will take me.