After starting out as a food stylist and photographer at the age of 19, it was a natural transition for Donna Hay to enter the world of food publications in her own right; food editor for Marie Claire by the age of 25, she rapidly established a reputation for as one of Australia’s biggest authorities on a healthy approach to cooking which focused on the wholesome and fresh.
As the ‘clean eating’ trend began to spread into more mainstream popularity in the 2010s, Hay found herself perfectly placed to share her expertise to a wider audience; her first TV series Fast, Fresh, Simple in 2011 was screened in over 17 countries and built upon her no-frills approach that prides simplicity above millions of ingredients. In the past few years she has had a successful eight-part TV series Basics to Brilliance, her own weekly food column and a baking mix range, as well as being conducted into the Australian Magazine Awards Hall of Fame to cement her status as one of Australia’s most loved chefs.
Hay’s inspiration for her latest venture came from the two key questions which parents tend to ask themselves concerning food; how do I cook nutritious and varied meals for the family, and how do I get my kids interested in cooking? She aims to address these common conundrums in her new TV show and its companion cookbook Basics to Brilliance Kids, which has begun airing this month and will be her 27th cookbook to date. Although family cooking can often feel like a minefield, she shows that you don’t have to spend hours prepping in the kitchen to create a family favourite, and that cooking can be made into a great family bonding activity to be enjoyed by all.
Words: Beth Owens