Discovering the benefits of healthy, wholesome food following a bout of poor health and digestive issues after a year spent abroad; chef, caterer, food writer, supper club host and Le Cordon Bleu graduate Tess Ward, otherwise known as The ‘Yes' Chef is dedicated to proving that great food can be simple, sustainable, inexpensive and created by everyone and anyone - from the gourmet chef to the 'lazy soup heater'.
This week we caught up with Tess to talk kitchen staples, #skinfood and all that’s in-between.
Describe your personal approach to nutrition and wellness...
Eat with awareness. Focus on the act and enjoy it when you have a meal. Make most of your meals 70% vegetable based. Always be sure to enjoy the foods you love. For me this is an almond croissant once a week and the occasional pudding when I eat out, or a piece of pudding or cake lovingly made in my kitchen with whole grains and unrefined sugars. Eating is a sensual thing and should always be a pleasurable experience!
What inspired you to make a career out of healthy cooking?
I developed horrific IBS when I got back from my travels around India. Initially I had to learn to cook to manage my symptoms, clearing out all high starches and sugars. Cooking ended up being part of the healing process and eating nourishing food was part of what healed my stomach. The other half was a genius nutritionist called Humphrey Bacchus. I now can enjoy everything again, except wheat. That is still one food my stomach can’t quite make friends with.
What is your top piece of advice for those wishing to get more creative in the kitchen?
Don’t be scared to make mistakes. It is part of the fun of learning!
Let us in on a few of your healthy kitchen staples...
Good quality extra virgin olive oil is my saviour. Cold meats, marinated cheeses and salads I also can’t be without. My favourite herb is currently lemon verbena, it makes a lovely tea if you combine it with fresh mint.
I have always had a bit of a love affair with smoked paprika. I am trying to hold back from putting it in every recipe in my book (due to be released April 2015). Other staples are lemons, fresh or frozen parsley and most certainly nuts, usually almonds and pecans.
What are some of your favourite skin-loving foods?
Avocado is a classic. It’s full of omega 3 fatty acids, which basically moisturise your skin from the inside. Oily nuts like pecans, brazil nuts and macadamias are wonderful. You can add them into your diet in so many ways. Try roasting the nuts for a few minutes in the oven to bring out their flavour or add them to your morning smoothie. Protein rich foods like chicken and salmon also promote elastin production in the skin, keeping it supple and youthful.
What are your go-to snacks to pack for a long day out and about?
If I haven’t got some sort of snack at hand, I will usually go for a raw chocolate brownie, Pulsin make a delicious one, a banana or a thick avocado-based smoothie. I try not to snack too much in the day. I prefer having regular meals instead, it’s much more social.
Do you have any natural beauty products that you can’t live without?
What are your kitchen to bathroom cabinet essentials?
Avocado is my internal moisturiser. I probably eat a whole one every day! I also love using it as an all-natural hydrating at-home hair mask.
Image Credit: Jack Hardy