Sydneysider, magazine editor, food stylist and television presenter Donna Hay has set the benchmark for food publishing and inspired a whole new generation of cooks. Her cookbooks have some more than 4.5 million copies worldwide (in nine different languages!) thanks to Hay’s knack for delicious-but-simple recipes and beautifully photography. She has also added a successful home wares line with Royal Doulton and The Donna Hay Home Baking Mix range into the mix. We were lucky enough to chat to the hard-working entrepreneur herself to get the inside scoop on her favourite ingredients, food trends set to take centre stage in 2016 and how to take an awesome Instagram snap of food.
Donna Hay talks food trends, Instagram and achieving a work/life balance
What does an average day look like for you? It usually starts with a green smoothie and getting my boys ready for school. Then I head into the office to do anything and everything from planning meetings or discussing layouts with my team in the office, to tasting recipes in the kitchen, meeting with advertisers, or pulling on the jeans and trainers for a day of styling in the studio. One of the things I love most about my job is that it’s different every day.
What is your food philosophy?
The philosophy of my brand has always been ‘special made simple’. It’s easy to create beautiful food without lots of fuss.
What health and food trends do you foresee for 2016?
At my recent book launch, I was asked if kale is here to stay, and I certainly don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon! I think we’ll continue to see people embracing lots of lighter vegetable alternatives for things like pasta and rice. For example zucchini noodles instead of spaghetti and cauliflower rice.
What is your favourite ingredient to cook with and why?
At the moment, I’m loving baking with cacao powder – I use it to make a delicious fudgey cake, bliss balls or a raw slice. I’m known for having a sweet tooth, so I feel good that I can create treats that are a little more on the guilt-free side.
What are two kitchen tools you can’t live without?
My stand mixer and blender.
What are your top tips for taking a great Instagram of food?
Great lighting and a good background – I’m always ducking into our studio, which has lots of natural light to ensure I take the perfect Instagram!
Where are your favourite wholesome cafes/restaurants?
About Life in Double Bay or Surry Hills.
What is your advice on a healthy work/life balance?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. I also find that exercise really helps me; there’s nothing like a good run early in the morning to clear your head and get you set up for the day ahead.
What’s something that people wouldn’t know about you?
I wear sky-high heels every day because I’m actually quite short!
What do you do for fun when you’re not working?
I love a sunny weekend spent paddle-boarding or fishing with my boys. I do a lot of cooking in my free time, too. Friends are always dropping around so I have to make sure I always have something delicious to feed them!