A fierce pride in Shoalhaven chefs and produce has kept Di Laver working long past her retirement.
Ms Laver was once a head teacher at TAFE. When she retired, four years ago, she was still passionate about all things food, and started the Huskisson-Jervis Bay Food Network, to celebrate the "food heroes" of the region.
That passion has culminated in the second annual chefs and producers dinner, held on Tuesday, May 21.
"Chefs and producers are so time-poor, very often they don't get to know who each other," she said.
"Last year, we decided to have a dinner where we introduced them. We had 140 attend, and we had an amazing evening, so we decided to make it an annual event."
Ms Laver said this year's event was a chance to highlight the unsung heroes building the Shoalhaven food landscape, including some she had taught.
"The whole object is to get these chefs up, out of their comfort zone, and to speak about how they showcase local produce and design their menus around what is available," she said.
"And it's just the most amazing thing to go out and see the chefs we trained here still in the Shoalhaven and doing amazing things. There's all sorts of things happening, you can't shut me up.
"I'm just so proud of them all, and the fact that they want to come back to a dinner that this old boiler has helped to put on, that's pretty special too."
The three Shoalhaven chefs featured at the event even praised Ms Laver's commitment.
Matt Upson, of Tallwood Eatery, Mollymook, said he'd support anything Ms Laver was involved in.
"She works tirelessly for the whole industry, I love her ethos about hospitality, and I'd just do anything to help her," he said.
Mr Upson said working with fresh produce inspired creativity.
"Working with the seasons drives us," he said.
"For example, a friend has a heap of persimmons at the moment, so we're using those tonight.
"As long as it's fresh it's good. It generally has a lot more flavour and it hasn't been pumped with chemicals."
Nick Gardner, from Hampton Deli Dining and School in Kangaroo Valley, agreed. He said developing relationships between chefs and producers improved food quality for consumers.
"Being able to work together strengthens our relationship, we get a better product out of it, and as an industry we can offer better food and restaurants to the community," he said.
"It helps people understand where their food comes from, cuts down food miles and you support your local community."
Brent Strong, from Bangalay Dining at Shoalhaven Heads, said a connection to producers made food more sustainable.
"I really enjoy what I'm doing, and this was a good opportunity to give back," he said.
"When I started working in kitchens and opening boxes of scotch fillets, you'd do the math and there's six cows in a box that might last you a week, it didn't add up.
"Our goal is to use secondary cuts, like the shoulder or the shin, and make those cuts that aren't as widely known delicious, so we can use one cow over three months.
"It's more sustainable, because we aren't going through as much produce, we use one animal that lived a good life, and we're not disrespecting it by throwing anything away.
"The smaller the farm, the more care they can put in and it translates to the flavour, it translates to the quality.
"You'd be silly not to support that instead of supporting a feedlot model with sickly, over-fed cattle."
All three chefs praised the quality of local produce available in the region - and although they all said they couldn't pick a favourite, Termeil mushrooms, Kangaroo Valley olive oil, Kangaroo Valley eggs and Schottlanders Wagyu all got a special mention.