About Me – Jaci Hicken

jaci on horse

I grew up on a dairy farm in Gippsland outside the town of Loch. As a young girl, I would read the cookbooks that mum kept in the bottom kitchen drawer. As there was always flour, butter, milk, and eggs in the house, I was continuously searching for new recipes to bake. As a girl, I would make spend my weekends baking puff pastry to make tarts, creating new versions of candies and baking all the colour rainbow cakes. Not much has changed - have you seen my IG feed, I’m still searching for recipes that I can cook using what I have on hand or growing in the kitchen garden.

At the age of about 16, I remember stating that I wanted to leave the farm and travel the world. I had the idea that I would become a television technician and work on sporting events (which I did). This would be followed by retiring by about 30 and moving back to Gippsland to grow vegetables and cook. From 16, fast forward 20 years, I returned, starting Jacican Food Studio in Mirboo North, Gippsland where I grow vegetables and cook.

Before returning to Gippsland, I re-trained as a chef, completing my certificate of commercial cookery. This led me to work in catering, large and small hotels and small businesses, both in Melbourne and Gippsland before starting Jacican. In 2014, I completed my Bachelor of Business and Commerce from Monash University.

To follow my passion for sharing Gippsland stories, its produce, farmers and people in 2020, I started a Graduate Diploma in Journalism at RMIT University.  

I love helping others follow their food dreams (just like I have) and have a wealth of knowledge, resources and networks available to be shared!

About Jacican

Based in Mirboo North, Gippsland, Jacican is all about regional Gippsland produce.

Thanks for visiting the Jacican website

Every day, I pick the produce that I need from the kitchen garden, watching the life-cycle of the garden. All my produce is grown using organic principles without the use of herbicides and pesticides. This method of gardening means my produce is flavourful and just how nature intended it to be. It does, however, leave me open to the elements, meaning uniform shapes and sizes cannot always be achieved – an aspect of my garden story that I am proud of.

Jaci picking warrigal greens

Gippsland farmers supply beef, lamb, pork and poultry directly to my kitchen. Further produce – bread, fruits, wine, beer and spirits are sourced directly from the people who make it to my kitchen door. 

In the cooking school I teach skills based cooking classes, sharing my love of pastry, homemade preserves, harvesting and sharing meals. There are even classes for guests with specific dietary needs – gluten-free and vegan harvest lunches!

enjoy a harvest lunch together at Jacican

In my pastry cooking classes, together we make pastry from scratch – puff, rough puff, short crust, and choux. I will teach you that gluten-free baking doesn’t mean sacrificing taste and that you can build your own box of lollies or a croquembouche!

Take part in a Jacican pastry cooking class - learn to make macarons

If you like, I could design a private cooking class for you, teaching you any cooking skills that you would like to learn for up to 10 guests. This includes macarons, dome desserts, pastry, tarts, lollies, any pastry skills you can think of, pasta or your own private harvest lunch.  For more information on arranging a private cooking class, please contact me at Jacican.

The Food Studio

Known as the Food Studio, the kitchen and dining room at Jacican was originally part of Mirboo North's old dairy. Built-in the 1950's – remembered locally for the cypress hedge that once stood in front with the word DAIRY carved into it. Building Maintenance and I purchased the dairy with its adjoining house in 2008 and opened the Food Studio in 2012. 

welcome to jacican

The food studio is fully licensed, seats up to 18 guests and can be booked for private meals and functions. The Food Studio is open as part of all Jacican cooking classes or if you come to a Jacican ‘walk amongst the weeds’ experience. When it’s not booked by guests, I use the food studio to create content for all my web channels and print, recipe development and to help others follow their food dreams.

In 2017, we added to Jacican, opening a teaching kitchen, separate from the food studio. The teaching kitchen has the capacity to host up to 10 guests in private or scheduled cooking classes. Cooking classes offered include pastry, harvest lunches, preserving and pasta. 

jacican teaching kitchen

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the kitchen soon!


Walk amongst the weeds

jacican harvest lunch

Cooking Classes

jacican preserving cooking class

Private Classes

jacican pastry cooking class pasties

Acknowledgment of country

Hello, I’m Jaci Hicken, from the lands of the Brataualung clan, which is where I’ve spent most of my life.

I would like to acknowledge all of us here today to cook together and share a meal.

I love sharing my dream of growing the food this country has to offer and share it with you.

The traditional place that we come together today is on the lands Gunaikurnai people

And I’d like to pay my respects to our elders past, present, emerging leaders, along with all the young people in our community.

Visit Jacican
32 Giles Street, Mirboo North Victoria 3871
Contact Jacican
Telephone: (03) 5668 2475

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