We chat careers and creative cooking with chef, food writer and cookbook author, Tess Ward
We're big fans of Tess’ ‘count colours not calories’ philosophy and her balanced approach to healthy eating. Her beautiful book, ‘The Naked Diet’ celebrates just this with a collection of recipes that confirms that clean eating can be both creative and delicious. Here we chat to Tess about everything from how she found herself working in a kitchen to how she stays sane whilst juggling the madness of being one of London’s busiest foodies.
Why did you decide to specialise in food and nutrition?
My main focus is on empowering others that cooking can be easy, fun and delicious with dishes that fuel the body and delight the tastebuds. I have always had a passionate interest in food but eating well and maintaining my digestive health has always been a priority for me too. I don’t believe it has to be one way or another. You can certainly have your cake and eat it too
When was your big break?
I don’t know if it has happened yet. Getting my book deal was a rather incredible moment though.
What does an average day look like for you (if there ever is one?!)
Cooking, eating, photoshoots and a lot of meetings are dominating my weeks at the moment. I also eat out several times a week to stay on the pulse and explore new cuisines, cooking styles. I like to think it is necessary for research!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Creative freedom and having a platform to inspire others to cook. I am also continually surrounding by hugely talented chefs and other passionate foodies. They make me grateful to work in such a nurturing industry.
Are there any aspects of your job that you find challenging?
Managing time. There never seems to be enough of it. I often have to work weekends.
What's the most common question you get asked?
What is the perfect diet? My answer is always ‘there isn’t one’ - everyone is so different and needs such different things. For me being healthy isn’t a way of life - it’s a way to make your life better. I tend not to over think it too much and focus on crowding in the good stuff. This is the best way to phase out the bad.
Who do you rely on to keep you happy, healthy and sane?
My mum is a rock. She helps me to stay grounded and rebalance when I’m overworked. She is the best earth mother and yoga teacher there is.
How is your industry changing?
Food is becoming rather fashionable. I remember when I was training at Le Cordon Bleu saying that when I finished I wanted to release a healthy cookbook. Publishers at the time had no interest but now the market is booming.
The Naked Diet, £11.89, is available here .