Back to basics
Donna Hay has an important message for Aussie families
BEING invited into Donna Hay’s inner-city Sydney office is a foodlover’s dream.
Set out on the table in front of us are a batch of freshly baked meringues Hay whipped up especially for TV Guide that morning.
Wrapped along the walls are drool-inducing pictures of the recipes which feature in her latest TV series Basics to Brilliance.
A massive whiteboard at one end of the room is filled with ideas for upcoming editions of her awardwinning Donna Hay magazine, while behind is a wall of her self-titled cookware and boxed cake mixes (spoiler alert: a spelt banana bread is on the way to supermarkets soon).
And then there’s Hay herself. Despite running an empire, the food doyenne is still incredibly hands-on. As well as the assorted meringues (the salted caramel one was to die for), she says she regularly cooks for her hardworking team.
“They’re really dedicated and loyal and I don’t take that for granted, ever,” she says of the people who support her from the ground up.
“I made them breakfast this morning, we had coconut chia cups with shredded pear and apple … and I always mix drinks on Friday.”
It’s those kinds of personal touches which will make it into Basics to
Brilliance, a series aimed at giving viewers staple recipes done to perfection along with a couple of unexpected twists to mix them up.
For the first time, Hay has invited cameras into her home and her daily life. From her morning run to meals with friends and family, the series will give a new insight into what makes the former food stylist tick.
“It never occurred to me that people were interested in my life,” Hay says when asked why she is now allowing the cameras into areas previously off limits.
“There are no no-go zones, we didn’t really approach it like that. There’s just me doing average things.”
Getting the basics right is important to Hay. Having grown up with a health-conscious mum who cooked food fresh from the vegie garden in her grandparents’ back yard, her approach to food is based on that fresh and simple philosophy.
And with food education lacking in many people’s lives, she also hopes she can do her part to change that.
Hay will soon be joining Jamie Oliver for his Food Revolution, a project aimed towards giving all children access to good, fresh food.
The pair will film together for the Facebook live page and Hay hopes to use the initiative the UK chef has started to bring the same knowledge into Australian homes.
“Any food education is good education,” she says.
“He’s got the movement started and he has the bigger voice than me, so I think that could be an easier way than starting on my own to make a difference. So I’m helping him from this side of the world where he can’t always get to.
“We will eventually get to the stage where people realise food is medicine – but it’ll just be a while.”
BASICS TO BRILLIANCE
TUESDAY, 8.30PM, LIFESTYLE FOOD