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Five minutes with culinary legend Donna Hay

Belinda Neame and Beatrice Smith

Donna Hay is more than a household name in Australia – she’s a food whisperer.

From the simple pleasures of her eponymous and Fresh + Light magazines to her 25 award-winning cookbooks, Donna sparks inspiration in even the most reluctant home cooks. So it’s fitting that she will be headlining the launch of Canberra Centre’s Monaro Mall Lifestyle Precinct this Thursday 2 November. We grabbed five minutes with her before she wings her way to town.

At what age did you start to show an interest in food/cooking and were you influenced by anyone in particular?

I was really lucky I knew from age eight where I wanted to be! My grandmother was an amazing cook and had a beautiful vegetable garden where we would go all the time. I’d be out in the garden with her and then back into the kitchen cooking. Her lemon tart was one of the first things I learned to cook.

Do you ever get a ‘creative block’ and if so, how do you overcome it?

Absolutely, and that’s all part of the process. I’ll go running or head out for a swim to get the endorphins going—or of course there’s always shopping for some fresh inspiration too!

Do you have a favourite recipe from your books that is your ‘go to’?

My choc peanut slice is one of my favourite ‘go-to’s. It’s full of clever food hacks and one the kids or whole family can help to make. The base is created with dates, peanut butter and a little bit of vanilla to make a super yum caramel and there’s brown puffed rice and raw cacao for an added nutritional boost.

My kids also love making my sushi rolls—they’re perfect for weeknights and you can pack in plenty of new ingredients for a change-up.

Does it look like either of your boys are going to follow in your footsteps?

It’s a little too early to tell! The boys are great; they’re in and out of the kitchen all the time with me.

Missed out on tickets to Donna’s Style to seasoned perfection masterclass?

We have one double pass to give away to a lucky reader! Just email [email protected] and tell us in 50 words or less why you’d love to attend on Thursday. Entries close 3pm AEST Wednesday 1 November and the winner will be notified by email by COB Wednesday 1 November.

This is a sponsored editorial. For more information on sponsored editorials, click here


Belinda Neame

Belinda is HerCanberra's Production Manager. A foodie and lover of handmade, Belinda enjoys nothing more than a good coffee and seeing Canberra businesses thrive. In her 'spare time', Belinda organises the quarterly Canberra street food event, The Forage with her husband Tim. More about the Author


Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author

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