Sophie McComas-Williams, Marrickville, NSW
Images by Andrew Butler
Sophie McComas-Williams is a longtime IN BED collaborator and top of our list for any kind of recommendation relating to food or dining. A seasoned writer, editor and founder of content studio Buffet, Sophie has combined her love of food and creativity into an ever expanding business. We caught up with Sophie and her husband Scott at their home in Sydney’s Inner-West to talk about art, creative partnerships and the joy of an interestingly stocked pantry.
“We bought our apartment earlier this year, and moved in during the Sydney lockdown in May. It was actually great moving when we did because, despite everything, there was at least a lot of time to unpack and settle in. We were looking for an apartment in a small block that was a little older, something with character, and were so excited when we found this space. The 1933 building is heritage listed and has a lot of the original features intact. I love the steel-framed windows, picture rails and moulded ceiling, it suits us more than a shiny new place would, I think. It opens directly onto a big shared courtyard which has tall palms and fronds everywhere, it feels a little tropical out there.”
“Because the apartment is split-level, it feels a bit roomy. We spend so much time in the central dining room. There’s a cavity cut into the kitchen, so you can chat to whoever’s doing the cooking. Downstairs we lounge, read and listen to records. I’m seven months pregnant at the moment, so there’s a lot of laying about going on.”
I’m seven months pregnant at the moment, so there’s a lot of laying about going on.
“I purchased the feature piece in our dining room, a diptych called Figure and Bloom by Bryce Anderson from China Heights gallery earlier this year. It’s so large and bright and a bit ridiculous, it nearly takes up the whole wall, but I love it. I just stare at it.”
“I’ve been adding to the funny little collection above our bed for a few years. I picked up the Frida Kahlo shadow boxes on a whistlestop trip to Tijuana, and found the dinky little dawg painting in a makeshift gallery called the Dark Bird Palace in Sante Fe, New Mexico.”
“The posters in the dining room are by a London-based Australian graphic designer called Tegan Hendell, they were designed for a wine bar called P Franco to promote their wine events and they were so popular she started to sell them. It was so hard to choose just two, but I love that one features a favourite Australian winery, Momento Mori.”
Sophie whipped up a delicious galette for our visit and uses IN BED 100% linen napkins in stone.
“Galettes are the best! You basically just wrap any good fruit up in a flaky, buttery pastry, with a little almond meal at the bottom to catch all the sweet juice. It’s like a pie without all the fiddling around. Scott co-owns a pasta bar in the city, Ragazzi, but we still eat a lot of pasta at home. It’s pretty awesome to have such easy access to funky vinegars, flours, anchovies and things through the restaurant; our pantry always feels full of potential.”
Galettes are the best! You basically just wrap any good fruit up in a flaky, buttery pastry, with a little almond meal at the bottom to catch all the sweet juice.
“Marrickville is so large and diverse, there’s so much to explore here with big Vietnamese, Lebanese and Greek communities. There’s a Greek bakery with the best spanakopita right across the road, a Mexican taco shop and grocer up the street and a non-descript mixed business near the train station that sells warm flatbread with za’atar for breakfast and every kind of Middle-Eastern spice, pickle and goat’s milk yoghurt you could ever want.”
“I’ve been lucky to combine my favourite things in my career - writing, food and wine. That began in print with Gourmet Traveller, digital with Broadsheet when they launched in Sydney, and now with Buffet - a creative content studio for the food, drink and travel industries I founded with photographer Nikki To in 2017. Running your own business comes with so many emotions. Such high highs, such immense stress, and lots of fun and freedom, sometimes all within the one day. It’s a joy working with a creative partner with whom I feel so creatively in sync, but my favourite part is the vibe our team has created in the studio. We’re all very like-minded, and all love food so much. All we want to do is create cool new stuff for brands we believe in. It doesn’t get better than that.”
I’ve been lucky to combine my favourite things in my career.
“We’ve grown from two people - just Nikki and I - to a team of seven in three years, which has been wild. Our client list includes both tiny wine bars and global brands now, which is exciting and keeps things new for us. We produce graphics and print projects now, as well as online editorial, social media, video and audio, so many different things! That’s been so exciting. The scale of projects we can take on is much larger now, but I really enjoy working on owner-operated brands from scratch, when you can take them anywhere and they really trust your ideas and strategy and want to collaborate.”
“Aside from Buffet, one of my favourite creative projects has been the launch of a podcast I co-host with a friend, Sophie Roberts. Highly Enthused is a conversational guide to consuming interesting and delicious things, from art and books to wine, ingredients and recipes, TV, film and music, design and fashion - basically anything we find worth talking about. It’s been a great outlet in the past 12 months, and it’s been fun to explore and learn about the nuances of audio and editing. Plus it’s just excellent to hang out with a best mate every week and talk about the extremely niche things we’ve done, read, watched, bought or listened to.”
“We never set out to be a giant agency, but our ideas are expansive and ever-evolving. There’s so much we want to do and make and say, and so we constantly have to work on prioritising those. What’s going to have the biggest creative impact, interest us, and get results all at once? If all those stars align with the right clients, it’s a dream. I just want more of that.”
“We’re having a baby in late November so that will be a big change for us! We’re excited for a summer babe and to have time together getting to know each other in the new year. There’s been so many changes lately, but I crave it, I love giant shake-ups.”