More about me…
My professional writing career started with travel publisher Lonely Planet. I was what they called a ‘parachutist’, which meant I’d go anywhere. That’s how I ended up writing about Bulgaria, Bonaire, Corsica, New York and Hong Kong.
One day my Lonely Planet boss said, “We need someone to go to Turkey to eat.” “That sounds like me,” I said. World Food Turkey was the result, a social, cultural and culinary investigation of Turkey which really turned me on to the rich possibilities of telling stories through food. Food is culture, history, family, life!
I’ve continued to thread food and travel through a writing career that’s included interviews with actors, politicians and even an astronaut. These days, I’m focusing on chefs, restaurants and cooking. My passion is connecting home cooks and eaters with great dishes and cuisines: if it’s tasty, I want to know about it, and I want you to know too.
I’m also a mum so I know all about getting food on the table for the family. I’ve got three kids (a step-son and two daughters) and a journalist husband. He’s great. I’ve also got a dog, a cat, four fish and three snails. I’ve probably got a load of washing waiting to be hung out too.
What’s your food philosophy?
I am all about eating and enjoying: food is at the heart of culture, both broadly and within each person, and I never stop learning. As a cook, I love experimenting and sharing my discoveries. As an eater, I explore avidly and enthusiastically. As a woman, I want to feed my body the fuel it needs to stay healthy and energised and, as a mum, I want to have healthy, happy, engaged kids who are confident in the kitchen and around a dining table.
My mum is a great cook, my Jewish grandmother was a lovely, generous feeder of family and I truly love sitting around a table eating with family and friends. I’m glad to do anything I can do to help create those happy eating occasions.
I believe that healthy eating is about balance and that, if your body agrees, there’s no problem with fat, gluten, sugar, carbs and WINE as part of a broad-ranging diet that’s based around real food; #jerf (just eat real food) is about as hashtaggy as I get with this stuff! Of course, I know that not all bodies do agree and that people are on their own eating journeys. I incorporate lots of different eating styles in my recipes and I love to share variations.
When it comes to eating meat, I try to do it consciously. That means choosing free range, enjoying secondary cuts and generally eating less meat but better meat. It’s about ethical treatment of animals and also about the environment. Meat is resource hungry; one of the most powerful sustainable actions we can take is to eat less of it. We often eat vegetarian at home: I was vegetarian for some years, and one of my daughters is vegetarian. My sister became vegetarian when she was 10 and I partly credit her action with my current love of food. Our mum was forced to cook more creatively and to expand her horizons to feed a young vegetarian and our lives were all the richer for it.
My charity partner
I don’t think it’s right that some people don’t have access to nutritious food. I’m also concerned about food waste. And I love community. For all these reasons, I am honoured to be an ambassador for FareShare, a food charity that rescues, grows and cooks food then shares it with those who are doing it tough. It’s a brilliant organisation with incredible kitchens in Melbourne and Brisbane, staffed by a mostly volunteer workforce. See my soup-making adventure at FareShare.
So you made this all by yourself?
Haha, of course not! I work with amazing and talented people. See some of them on my Friends page.
Do you work for Thermomix?
No, I don’t sell Thermomix and never have. Thermomix in Australia (and New Zealand, and elsewhere) sell my books and we work together on cooking classes and events. I love having a Thermomix in the kitchen – I’m always learning new tricks and recipes and I love sharing my knowledge. I am absolutely delighted to help home cooks make the most of the coolest tool in their kitchen. See my Thermomythbusting story for more.