A Class Act

Each one should teach one

When it comes to the new wave of health foods and associated activities available on the market, integrity can be as thinly spread as Nutella on a slither of sourdough in a Sunday surcharge saturated seaside cafe. If you lack the X factor – also known as a jolly good dose of authenticity – eventually you’ll be swallowed up by culinary karma faster than you can say lolly gobble bliss bombs.

I’ve been running my portable cooking school for over sixteen years and during this time have contributed to raising the awareness surrounding slow food, seasonality, organic produce and the clean eating trends that unfolded. What started out as short course cookery tuition at William Angliss in Melbourne emulsified into a glossy slipstream that has transported me across the globe leaving a trail of food as medicine tidbits where ever I go.

As a naive nutrition student in my first year at Endeavour College of Natural Health, I simply wanted to graduate so I could teach cooking to my tiny tribe with the authority of an expert. Back in that day the Interwebs were not as wide and worldly, therefore being a learned expert in your field was a craft you really had to master. You couldn’t just cut and paste someone else’s nutrition posts and claim you had found the cure for cancer at the bottom of your acai bowl!

Many of you who read my words will know that I have devoted my life to food as medicine, and more importantly teaching the nuances of good eating, demystifying food fads, debunking diets and helping my students clearly understand the biochemical pathways of food synergy. Ultimately, we require a rainbow of foods to maintain and improve health. The synergy of food is also to be taken into account, for it is not what is eaten in isolation, but the outcome of how eating a wide variety of food affects the individual. We also look very closely at seasonality when it comes to dispensing food as medicine so as to prescribe an accurate dose for the patient.

Yet never before have we seen such pious pigeonholing about what to eat. I see so much poor health in society that can be alleviated with an awareness of nutrition and good food. My mission is – as it was when I launched this business in 2000 – to radiate global awareness through my mentoring, coaching and culinary programs so as to empower others by cultivating their effective motivational mindset so they may enjoy the power of positive energy as a vital healing force to reunite family, restore community and renew planetary health.

I take my teaching archetype very seriously, yet according to Flip Shelton I am “the Dr Seuss of health and nutrition. Sam has dedication and enthusiasm, knowledge and belief, which is second to none. She has a wonderful take on life, the way she explains things (and never down her nose at you) is clear and simple and I adore her sense of humour and word play“.

At Byron Bay Cooking School we showcase and teach participants to embrace all things seasonal, local, organic and wholefood in dynamic hands-on classes. The Executive Masterclasses are particularly exciting as they offer a unique experience for employees. Participants not only learn new cooking skills but also about working together as a team, building new relationships with colleagues, thinking laterally and at times working outside their comfort zones. And then of course they get to enjoy sit down and enjoy their meal together. The sense of achievement at the end of a class is unmistakable. Read more about BBCS here

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My friend photographer Nelly le Comte shot this pic above for Cream Workwear after four very long days prepping Jody Vassallo‘s absolutely beautiful food for a project. This job, I have to say in all honesty, was the most rewarding collaboration of creatives I have ever had the pleasure of working on. Now Nelly and I have worked on a few shoots, yet with Jody’s incredible style, an extraordinary body of editorial and publishing work, a fabulous hound at our feet named Cliffany and her yogic wisdom – it has changed the way I look at food through the lens. What I also know about all of the creatives I mention in this post is that none of them are afraid of hard work. They have applied their trade over the years and decades, cultivating the 10,000-Hour Rule. They never mimic, seek inspiration from their peers and influences, then weave their own style. They are the outliers.

Smooth Operators

As a mentor to the wellness industry my feathers will ruffle when I watch my clients hit dangerous roadblocks. When they breakthrough their own challenges, I’ll be as proud as punch (not that I have ever drunk a punch to be proud of – have you?) and beam like a peacock arching his magnificent train. So with regard to the bliss bombs I mentioned earlier, my very, very clever friend Cinzia (who for the record has also been a card-carrying paid client of mine) just busted through more than a tablespoon of adversity surrounding her wonderful cylinders of goodness called The Smoothie Bombs. Rather than let it all go down the tube, she rolled her self up, dusted her off her Italian pride (just a little) and stunned me with her ability to re-conquer the market, blitz her sales forecasts and then land herself a full-page review in what would have to be the most coveted magazine on the planet for stylish entrepreneurs – Collective Hub!

Image@DebHartley

Recently, my friends at Combi launched their Byron Bay offering in Fletcher Street. A marvellous cacophony of coffee grinding, cacao blending and chic street chatter that is honest, authentic, fun and most importantly great to eat at honest prices. I also had the pleasure of professionally helping their transition from chilly Melbourne to the sub-tropics. How I came to meet co-founder Anthony Baker is a decade old story of rock & roll and coffee. For many of you that’s the perfect potion, to me it’s only the beginning. You see Anthony found me out herding – what are now known as food trucks – for an island festival way back in 2006. Who knew that a distant friendship born over a decade ago would seed new directions in the “real” clean eating paradigm? Add a coupla road trips to Byron and – as we say in these parts – our master plan is working.

Welcome home Combi – you have brought so much family to my heart in Byron Bay. I love what you stand for, admire your brand dedication and wish you every happiness in this pocket you now can call your own. From Collingwood to Elwood, here we are all frothed up in the most eastern tip of a great southern land. Do pop in and say hi to store manager Stacey below – she’s tops!

Oh and if you happen to be in Melbourne, there is one seat left at my Food as Medicine Masterclass Sunday 16th 11-3pm South Melbourne Market. Shop Now!

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