Photo by Rob Palmer from Simple Every Day by Justine Schofield (Plum)
Justine is one of our Aussie culinary heroes. From her debut in the first ever season of MasterChef Australia, to the creation of two delicious cookbooks, Dinner with Justine and Simple Everyday, her passion and love for good food is inspiring on so many levels. We love her balanced philosophy, which centres around practising mindful eating and encouraging home cooking. Here, Justine shares her tips on health, wellness and nutrition.
Tell us a little bit about yourself …
In a nutshell I’m a cook, passionate about simple wholesome home cooking! I love to inspire families across the country to be more ambitious and creative in their kitchens.
I have a TV show, Everyday Gourmet, on Network 10, which has notched up over 700 episodes and is entering its eighth season. Nine years on from MasterChef (season 1 in 2009), where it all began, I’m also a presenter at Australia’s major food events and have two successful cookbooks . I’m an ambassador for major international brands and tourism destinations.
What was the ‘uh-ha’ moment that inspired you to get into food?
I guess it first started when all of my friends would insist that I cook for them, but the real “uh ha” would have had to be on MasterChef. The extreme fast paced competition was like a cooking class of steroids and it has made into the cook. Learnt so much and feel because of that I’ve become a better cook.
Talk us through a typical day in your life …
I try to do some form of exercise every day and get it out of the way first thing in the morning. Whether it’s a circuit class, walks with friends or a weekend run and swim, I always feel better if I start the day with an activity.
Coffee is a MUST after this. Followed by break at home, which usually consists of toast, avocado, tomatoes and poached eggs.
I don’t snack. I think because I was raised with a French mum at home, snacking is something they don’t really do, so I have adopted that way European way of eating. I truly believe if you have three good meals a day you shouldn’t need to snack.
Lunch is usually a salad with lots of raw veggies, pickles and tuna and a bit of crusty bread. Or sandwich.
Dinner is always dependant on if I have had a little or large lunch because balance is variety is important to meat. If I’ve just had a salad for lunch then I would have maybe a pasta for dinner with lots of rocket or spinach tossed in at the very last minute, a steak, a simple stir-fry or a bit of fish with maybe a miso glaze to jazz it up.
Coffee or tea?
What is your indulgence of choice?
Cheese is my Achilles heel! That and eggs benedict with lots of hollandaise sauce.
What are three foods you can’t live without?
Olive oil, lemons and cheese.
What’s your go-to snack for those days on the run?
I very rarely snack. But if I do it would be fruit or yoghurt.
Do you have any last words of advice or tips for those starting out on their health journey?
I’m no expert in this field and I don’t pretend to be, but diet obviously plays a huge role in our health. I simply look at it this way… Eat whole foods wherever possible, use the freshest ingredients you can get and cook from scratch often, that way you know what you are eating. Portion size is also important, be really mindful of what you’re eating, if you savour every bite you are unlikely to overeat.